Among the issues President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos will raise in the European Union-Association of Southeast Asian Nations (EU-ASEAN) Business Summit in Brussels, Belgium next week is the situation on the South China Sea.
Foreign Affairs Assistant Secretary Daniel Espiritu said that it will be among the important issues the President will bring up during his participation at the summit from Dec. 12 to 14.
Asked if Marcos will be seeking support from the EU on the long-standing maritime issue with China, Espiritu said the EU has actually been vocal of its support to the Philippines since the arbitral ruling in 2016 that favored the country.
“At this point EU has been supporting the Philippines on the South China Sea, including sa (the) arbitral. And this is not only true in terms of the European Union as a whole, but may (there are) individual members who have supported us even sa (in the) arbitral award,” Espirutu said in a pre-departure briefing on Friday, Dec. 9.
The Foreign Affairs official stressed that the Philippine government will continue to carry its position on the issue to its discussions with the ASEAN and EU.
He further said that seeking commitment from the EU like patrol support may not be in the card so far, the support the EU has been giving the country is already enough.
“Yung actual patrol siguro–medyo malayo kasi EU e, malayo tayo but enough na yun na ang lakas ng pronouncement nila paulit ulit yung support nila sa Philippines on the issue (The actual patrol—EU is very from us, but their strong and constant pronouncement to the Philippines is already enough),” Espiritu said.
“I-arrange mo pa yung actual patrol, we are not discounting that but of course malaking undertaking yan kung sakali. Wala naman sa card ‘yan so far (You will have to arrange the patrol, we are not discounting that but of course, it would be a huge undertaking. It is not on the card so far),” he added.