Senator Dismayed Over Philippine Foreign Policy
Sun Star Manila
Wednesday, June 22, 2011
THE Philippine government should not be afraid to assert its position over the disputed Spratly group of islands in the West Philippine Sea, as China continues to show its force in the area it refers to as the South China Sea, a senator said on Wednesday.
Speaking in a roundtable discussion on strengthening the domestic economy amid global and local crises organized by the National Economic Protectionism Association (Nepa), Senator Manuel Villar said the Philippines currently has a “foreign policy of fear”.
“Napakaduwag ng ating bansa…para bang pag may nagalit sa atin na bansa, tayo ay nagpapanic agad at nahihiya at humihingi ng dispensa,” Villar remarked.
He said for a country scarce with resources to address territorial security, dealing with China over the Spratlys dispute should not always be based on “show of force”.
“Kailangan lang maliwanag ang mensahe kasi minsan yung ating mga ibang departamento, tulad ng Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), alam ko takot na takot sila ngayon,” the senator stressed.
House Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr. is scheduled to meet with the chairman of the Standing Committee of the People’s Congress of the People’s Republic of China this week.
The Speaker’s delegation, which left Wednesday night, includes Representatives Victor Ortega (La Union), Elpidio Barzaga (Cavite), Jose Zubiri III (Bukidnon) and Tomas Apacible (Batangas).
Belmonte said “if the occasion arises”, he will reiterate the position of the Philippine government on the dispute over the Spratly islands.
The meeting will be held in Beijing and the Speaker’s delegation is expected to be back on June 28.
Another member of the House of Representatives believes that the Philippines can better defend itself from intrusions if every Filipino will be armed; this, despite efforts of the administration to dismantle private armies in the country.
“Kung gusto tayo pasukin ng ating neighbors napakadali, we are a very poor country. Wala tayong kakayahaang protektahan ang sarili natin. Maliban lang po kung i-engage ng pamahalaan ang bawat Pilipino at bigyan ng armas para sa ganoon ma-protect natin ang ating territory,” Cagayan Representative Juan Ponce Enrile Jr. told reporters in a press conference.
Enrile, however, admitted that the only thing left to do for the government is to exhaust all means for an amicable settlement on the Spratlys row.
He said politicians should stop issuing comments on the issue which will only add to the escalating tension in the West Philippine Sea.
“Let s allow the DFA to negotiate, pero marami tayong nakikita sa telebisyon at napapakinggan sa radyo na tila yata gusto ring madinig ang kanilang boses. Nagkakaroon ng mixed messaging kung inatasan na ang DFA na bilang tagapagsalita, sila lang ang dapat na magsalita. Tumahimik na dapat po kami,” Enrile stressed. (Kathrina Alvarez/Sunnex)