Former Makabayan solons hit Duterte’s non-assertion of The Hague-ruling

Former Makabayan solons hit Duterte’s non-assertion of The Hague-ruling

Manila, Philippines – Two former Party-list Representatives under Makabayan bloc and now leaders of progressive groups slam the Duterte government for what they said as “defeatist and cowardice” over China’s continuous rejection of the 2016 arbitral tribunal ruling on the South China Sea, which invalidated its 9-dash line assumption, while favoring the Philippines’ sovereign rights on its exclusive economic zone (EEZ).

In a joint statement, former Anakpawis Party-list Congressmen Fernando Hicap and Ariel Casilao slated Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque over his statement “setting aside disagreements with China, including the sea row”, in the name of trade and economic relations.

“Is Mr Roque speaking for the Chinese government? Because it seems so for reechoing Beijing’s position on the international ruling. In the name of trade and economic relations with China, the Philippine government is willing to shelve our international court winning even if it means losing our resource and mineral-rich marine territory to China,” the former Makabayan Congressmen said.

Casilao, now Vice President of Anakpawis, said Mr. Roque’s statement exposed the Duterte government’s “puppetry” to Chinese aggressors.

For his part, now PAMALAKAYA National Chairperson Hicap said that the government’s defeatist and submissive foreign policies leave the Filipino fishers at the “losing end”.

“The arbitral tribunal may be in favor to the Philippines, but the Filipino fishers are devastated as it is. It’s not only China that rejected the ruling, but also the Philippine government has deliberately refused to uphold our legal, political, and historic claims over our marine territory being robbed flagrantly by China,” said Hicap.

Hicap said that the Duterte government’s “impunity” towards China is giving them permission to “walk over us and disrespect our fishers in our traditional fishing grounds”, citing the hit-and-run incident in Recto Bank last year that endangered 22 Filipino fishermen, and the recent maritime collision off Mindoro Occidental that resulted to 14 fishing crew remain missing until now.

“Duterte’s puppetry to China is plain and simple betrayal of the Filipino people. His neglect to hold China accountable over territorial intervention is injustice to the Filipino fisherfolk. We are calling the Filipinos to protest both China’s aggression and Duterte’s submission and collectively uphold national sovereignty and territorial integrity,” Casilao and Hicap ended. ###

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