Manila, Philippines – It is solely the Duterte administration which is accountable to the loss of the Philippines’ exclusive economic zone (EEZ) in the West Philippine Sea, and should not be blamed to its any predecessors, according to the militant fishers’ group Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (PAMALAKAYA) on Tuesday.
In a statement, PAMALAKAYA said President Duterte should “own up to his accountability for furthering China’s aggression and annexation of the West Philippine Sea.
“President Duterte should quit playing the blame game and admit that his submissive and mendicant foreign policies, as well as non-assertion of our sovereign rights have emboldened China to be more aggressive on its intrusion of our marine territory. It is the Duterte administration that keeps on setting aside the arbitration ruling and putting our sovereignty as a bargaining chip in the name of economic investments and vaccine diplomacy that China would extend to the country,” Fernando Hicap, PAMALAKAYA National Chairperson said in a statement.
Moreover, the fishers’ group added, it is under the Duterte administration that China has boldly displayed hundreds of militia vessels in the Philippine waters, threatening the livelihood of Filipino fishers.
The fishers’ group said that the 2012 Scarborough Shoal standoff has already been covered in the case filed before the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) in 2016, which China was consequently indicted by the international arbitration.
“We’ve seen in the recent developments that China, under the present administration, has ever-strengthened its foothold in our marine territory; that’s where Duterte should be made to answer,” Hicap added.
Hicap, also former Anakpawis Party-list Representative said President Duterte’s “puppetry” to China amounts to treason and betrayal of the constitution that he has sworn to uphold.
“Duterte’s blame game is nothing but a desperate move to propagate public confusion and evade his responsibility on the dispossession of the West Philippine Sea. He should be condemned in history as a national traitor who compromised our national sovereignty and territorial integrity to his foreign masters,” ended Hicap. ###