Hilbay says ‘friendship’ with China ‘should be on equal footing, fair terms’
Former Solicitor General Florin Hilbay said Wednesday he is not “very pleased with the way we’ve dealt with China.”
In an interview with INQUIRER.net, Hilbay acknowledged that while it is good to establish friendship with other nations he also reminded government that friendships “should be on equal footing and on fair terms.”
Hilbay made these remarks when sought for his comment on the two-day state visit of Chinese President Xi Jinping to the country, including the 29 agreements forged by Beijing in Manila on Tuesday in Malacañang.
“Given the stance of the President with respect to China on many interests affecting the national interest or the Philippines, I’m not very pleased with the way we’ve dealt with China,” Hilbay said.
He pointed out that not disclosing the details of the agreements signed with China is an “affront” not only to the citizen’s right to information but also to the freedom of the press.
“Number one, for example, the many agreements that we signed with China, those agreements have not been disclosed to the Filipino public,” he said.
“I think those are matters of national interest and it’s an affront to the right to information of citizens and its an affront to the freedom of the press that Filipinos are not being given access to those relevant informations that I think are very important in opinion formation,” he added.
Hilbay also noted there was no way of knowing whether the visit of the Chinese leader to the country was for the benefit of the Filipino people or for China.
“There’s no way to compute the costs and benefits of that visit other than to show that we have a very submissive President,” he said.
“Because we are not being given access to the agreements that have been signed between the President (Rodrigo Duterte) and Xi Jinping, there’s no way to determine whether or not the visit is for the benefit of Filipinos or only for the benefit of China,” he added.
Earlier, Duterte and Xi witnessed the signing of 29 bilateral agreements.
Some of the agreements involved the oil and gas development, basic education cooperation, and communication technology, among others.
However, details of the deals, that including the location of the oil exploration site, have yet to be disclosed. /kga
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.