Gutoc slams critics: Wearing life vest wrong better than having wrong principles
MANILA, Philippines — Senatorial candidate Samira Gutoc has slammed people who mocked her for wearing a life vest wrong, saying it is better than not standing for Filipino fishermen who allegedly get harassed by Chinese Coast Guard in the West Philippine Sea.
“Mali man po ang pagkakasuot ko ng life vest, hindi naman mali ang aking paninindigan. Ang mahirap ay tama ang iyong suot, pero ang kaluluwa, puso’t isipan ay naibenta na sa China,” Gutoc said in a statement on Friday.
The opposition candidate was criticized for supposedly taking part in a “publicity stunt” where she and some of her fellow Otso Diretso candidates stood beside a jet ski docked at the shores of Masinloc town in Zambales.
Gutoc was also ridiculed for wearing the life vest reversely and without locking, prompting former presidential aide and administration senatorial bet Bong Go to offer jet ski lessons.
In response, Gutoc said she appreciates the offer but would like the tutorial to happen near the Scarborough shoal — part of the region being disputed by the Philippines and China.
“Call ako dyan, and I truly appreciate his offer. Pero gawin ang tutorial sa Scarborough mismo or sa Kalayaan Islands […] Kahit alalay nya lang ako, sya ang bida, payag ako. At bilang malapit sa Presidente, he can ask the Coast Guard for permission to sail there, which was denied us last April 9,” Gutoc said, referring to the Philippine Coast Guard’s alleged ban.
Gutoc also said that it would be a chance for Go to show that he cares for the country’s territories.
“The benefit of doing the lessons there is that he will not only show me how to ride a jet ski, but he will also show to his Chinese friends his resolve to defend what is ours,” she explained.
Recently, the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) revealed that they have monitored an extraordinary surge of Chinese fishing vessels in the Pag-asa Island waters. Aside from that, AFP is also validating reports that the Chinese Coast Guard has drove away Filipino fisherfolk near the Scarborough shoal.
This has prompted critics to demand action from President Rodrigo Duterte’s administration. Malacañang has vowed to file diplomatic protests if the allegations were proven.
Duterte, since his ascension to office in 2016, has implemented an independent foreign policy, patching up ties which China which has been severed since the previous administration filed an arbitration case against the Asian superpower. /jpv
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