‘It sounded like the State of China’s affairs in PH,’ Hontiveros on Duterte’s 4th Sona
MANILA, Philippines — “It sounded like the State of China’s affairs in the Philippines.”
This was how opposition Senator Risa Hontiveros described President Rodrigo Duterte’s fourth State of the Nation Address (Sona).
“Tungkol sa West Philippine Sea, parang hindi State of the Nation Address yo’ng napakinggan ko kundi State of China’s affairs in the Philippines,” Hontiverso told reporters after Duterte delivered his speech at the Batasan Complex in Quezon City on Monday.
“Kung ige-grade ko ang Sona ni Presidente, 22 out of 100 kasi ‘yan ang bilang ng mga Pilipinong mangingisda na nabigo siyang ipagtanggol sa kanilang karapataN sa ating sariling karagatan,” she further said.
The senator was referring to the 22 Filipino fishermen who were left at sea after a Chinese vessel rammed their boat at Recto (Reed) Bank in the West Philippine Sea.
The President, after a week of silence over the incident, called it a “little maritime accident.”
During his Sona, Duterte said that the West Philippine Sea is “ours.”
“There is no ifs and buts” he added.
But while Duterte reaffirmed the Philippines’s claim over the contested waterway, he added that “we have to temper it with the times and the realities that we face today.”
“Nakakadisma, I’m really disappointed. Sa halip na ginamit ni Presidente ang kaniyang Sona para sabihin sa lahat nating mga Pilipino kung papaano niya ipagtatanggol yung ating soberanya, sa halip parang nag-abugado pa siya para sa panig ng Tsina,” Hontiveros said.
The Philippines, China, Taiwan, Vietnam, Malaysia and Brunei have conflicting claims over the South China Sea.
In 2013, the Philippines filed a case before the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) at The Hague in The Netherlands challenging China’s sweeping claim of nearly the entire South China Sea.
But in July 2016, the Hague-based court ruled in favor of the Philippines invalidating China’s nine-dash line.
The President, however, has played down the ruling as he sought economic and trade investments from China.
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