Pangilinan: Philippines must face China
MANILA, Philippines — It’s not just a matter of sovereignty, it’s also about food security.
Opposition Senator Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan said this Friday as he urged the Duterte administration to face China and protect Philippine resources.
“The Chinese vessel ramming the fishing boat of 22 Filipino fishermen in Recto Bank is not just a matter of sovereignty or defending our territory, which are of paramount national interest,” he said in a statement.
“Ang pagtanggol at pagsuporta sa ating mga mangingisda ay katumbas din ng pagsiguro ng ating kakainin,” he added, noting that Recto Bank in the West Philippine Sea is a “huge source” of aquamarine resources.
The senator said food security is also national security.
Pangilinan insisted that the estimated 376,350 square kilometers West Philippine Sea belongs to the Philippines and not to China.
“This area – a rich source of fish, oil, gas, and other minerals – is much larger than our land area of about 300,000 square kilometers,” he pointed out.
“We cannot be meek and submissive in defending what belongs to us by international law,” he further said.
Pangilinan also hit the administration for declaring war against Canada over garbage “and yet it is docile and subservient toward China over tens of trillions of dollars’ worth of marine, mineral, and energy sources that are ours…”
He then pressed the administration to defend national interests as well as the farmers and fishermen who provide food for the people.
The Duterte administration drew flak for allegedly downplaying the Recto Bank incident as a “little maritime accident” even after the Chinese vessel abandoned the 22 Filipino fishermen in the open sea.
“Magiging mailap pa rin ang isang masagana’t maunlad na Pilipinas kung hindi natin ipaglalaban at ipagtatanggol ang kanilang interes,” Pangilinan said.
“Dapat nating harapin ang China at pangalagaan ang pinagkukunan natin ng pagkain,” he added. (Editor: Katherine G. Adraneda)
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