Pangilinan says OK candidates would be voice in Senate on China issues
Senator Francis Pangilinan on Wednesday said there would be more voices to check the executive branch’s foreign policies should the eight Oposisyon Koalisyon (OK) candidates win Senate seats in the 2019 midterm elections.
Pangilinan, who is also OK’s campaign manager, said voters who oppose the current administration’s stance on the disputed West Philippine Sea (WPS) should consider OK’s senatorial bets.
“Kapag nanalo ang mga walong pambato natin sa Senado, mas maraming maninindigan para sa bayan, mas maraming magtatanggol ng karapatan ng ating mga mangingisda, mas maraming tatayo para sa wasto at tama,” Pangilinan said in a statement.
(If our eight Senate bets win, there would be more lawmakers who would stand up for the good of the country. There would be more people who would fight for the rights of fishers and would advocate for what is right.)
He acknowledged that the Senate’s minority bloc would need numbers once the issue of national sovereignty is tackled.
“At dahil numbers game sa pulitika, mas gaganda ang tsansa ng usaping national sovereignty o ng ating pagkabansa kung mas maraming malakas na boses ang nagtataguyod nito,” he explained.
(Because politics is a numbers game, we would have better chances to tackle national sovereignty issues if there are more voices fighting for these causes.)
“Base sa kanilang track record, alam natin kung saan nakatayo sina (Based on their track record, we know where these people stand) Gary Alejano, Bam Aquino, Chel Diokno, Samira Gutoc, Pilo Hilbay, Romy Macalintal, Mar Roxas, at Erin Tañada,” he added.
Pangilinan’s statement comes after some OK candidates held a press briefing in Quezon City where they discussed the recent deals the Philippine has entered into with China.
On Tuesday, President Rodrigo Duterte and Chinese President Xi Jingping watched as the foreign secretaries of the two nations signed 29 bilateral deals, some of which concern oil and gas development, basic education, and communications technology.
The oil exploration site was not revealed, but many believe that it includes certain portions of the WPS.
Various Asian countries have staked their claims in the South China Sea, after studies showed that its ocean floor contains great amounts of natural gas. The sea row has been going on for decades, although China has accelerated its territorial claims only in recent years by militarizing the area.
The previous administration filed an arbitration case against China before the United Nations (UN) Arbitral Tribunal. In a ruling in 2016, the tribunal declared China’s nine-dash line — or a demarcation line which includes disputed islands and bodies of water as their territory — as invalid.
However, Duterte’s administration has opted to use an independent foreign policy, including the reparation of ties with the Asian superpower. He has also raised the possibility of a joint exploration in the WPS. /ee
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