Chel Diokno to gov’t: 'Be consistent on WPS issue'

Published November 26, 2021, 1:43 PM

by Betheena Unite

The government must be consistent in asserting the country’s exclusive economic zone in the West Philippine Sea, a senatorial aspirant urged Friday, Nov. 26, saying that it’s hard to hope from inconsistent stands made by the President.

Human rights lawyer Chel Diokno (MANILA BULLETIN FILE PHOTO)

Human rights lawyer Jose Manuel “Chel” Diokno, who is gunning for a seat in the Senate, made the call after President Duterte criticized China’s use of water cannon to stop Philippine boats from bringing food supplies to Filipino soldiers stationed at Ayungin Shoal

“One of the problems is nag-iiba-iba kasi iyong sinasabi niya. Kung minsan ay parang dinidepensahan niya ang China. Ngayon naman, parang baliktad at mas malakas ang sinabi niya (One of the problems is he is not consistent with his statements. Sometimes, he seems like defending China. Now, it’s the irony and gave a strong statement)” Diokno said about Duterte’s latest statement.

“It’s difficult to know what will come out next from the mouth of the President. Hindi lang naman dito sa isyu ng West Philippine Sea kundi sa iba’t ibang isyu. Isang araw, ganito ang sasabihin niya, sa susunod baliktad naman, kaya mahirap asahan (It is not just on the issue of West Philippine Sea but in other issue. One day, he’s saying this, the next time, he’s saying the irony, so it’s hard to hope),” he added.

The country, he said, must be consistent to the 2016 arbitral award and international law in asserting its exclusive economic zone, emphasizing that the territory is crucial to the country’s food security.

Diokno said the people want the government to have a consistent policy on the West Philippine Sea because it is crucial to our food security and to the nation’s sovereignty.

“Dapat consistent ang ating government pagdating sa isyu na iyan kasi klarong-klaro na atin iyan. Kaya dapat ipaglaban natin iyan (The government must be consistent in that issue because it is very clear that it is ours. We must fight for it),” he further said.

The human rights lawyer reiterated his earlier call to the government to enter into a multilateral agreement with neighboring countries that also have interest in the said area.