WPS is a security matter now turning into a partisan issue - analyst

WPS is a private security matter now turning into a partisan issue – analyst

By: - Reporter / @zacariansINQ
/ 05:21 AM April 17, 2024

Solons open to redirect CIFs to defenders of West PH Sea

TRADITIONAL FISHING GROUND In this November 2016 file photo, a Filipino fisherman catches fish as the China Coast Guard patrols Panatag (Scarborough) Shoal in the West Philippine Sea, a traditional fishing ground for Zambales and Pangasinan fishers. —RICHARD A. REYES

MANILA, Philippines — The country’s dispute with China regarding the West Philippine Sea is now turning into a political and a partisan issue amid the feud between President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. and former President Rodrigo Duterte.

This is a political expert’s observation involving the worsening clash between the President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.’s administration and former President Rodrigo Duterte.


The rift between the two has grown wider more recently, after it was revealed that Duterte supposedly entered a pact with China – the so-called Duterte-China gentleman’s agreement.


This accord is seen as the possible reason for the non-repair of the BRP Sierra Madre or the Philippine military outpost at Ayungin (Second Thomas) Shoal during his administration.

READ: Ex-president Duterte, China confirm pact not to repair PH outpost

However, according to Political Analyst Edmund Tayao, both parties could have discussed the topic privately, as it is now merely being turned into a partisan issue — a topic that should have been dealt with simply as a security matter.

“The issue of the West Philippine Sea is being used as a political issue – political in the sense that it’s being used more for partisan purposes,” Tayao told INQUIRER.net.

“But if we’re going to talk about propriety, and we’re going to speak of what’s best moving forward, it would have been best if the former president tried to speak to the incumbent president about it privately, regardless of whether they have political or partisan differences,” he said.

READ: AFP, PNP reject Alvarez’s call to turn back on gov’t


According to Tayao, since the topic directly involves the country’s security, the only ones being put at a disadvantage are the Filipino people.

“You don’t discuss very sensitive issues in public, not so much because you don’t trust the people, but you don’t want to communicate to other interested parties, foreign interested parties, to the international community, particularly China for that matter, that we have internal divisions,” he explained.

Tayao said as a former president, Duterte is automatically a member of the National Security Council, which makes it that much easier for him to privately discuss the issue with Marcos.

“Kaya sumasakay ‘yung ibang tao, kasi ginagamit nga for partisan purposes,” he noted.

(This is why some people are joining in on the issue, because it is being used for partisan purposes.)

Asked what could be the reason behind making the WPS a partisan issue, Tayao responded that it was “obviously” for political purposes.

“Ginagawang political ito (this is being made political) for obvious reasons,” he noted.

“They want people to see what they want them to see – to use it for their own purposes. Whether that is for their advantage or not, I don’t think they really thought of it that much,” he added.

PH ties with China

Tayao also pointed out that the recent tagging of the Marcos administration as a US-centric ally is unfair.

He said this after Duterte and his allies criticized Marcos for allegedly being pro-US.

Just days after Marcos expressed disapproval of Duterte’s “gentleman’s agreement” with China, Duterte described Marcos as a “cry baby” and accused him of only talking about America.

“I’d like to emphasize that it’s unfair to say that we are going back to the previous foreign policy limitation, which is plain and simple America,” said Tayao.

According to him, it was partly because of Duterte’s re-orientation of the country’s foreign policy that prompted the new administration to form new and closer relationships with other countries.

He explained that it was precisely for this reason why there seems to be an “extraordinary focus on the US” – because it was sidelined by Duterte’s administration.

“So now, we’re renewing these ties with the US. That’s the reason why they’re saying na lumalapit tayo sa US (we are moving closer towards US), but actually we’re simply renewing it,” said the analyst.

2025 Elections?

Meanwhile, Tayao also noted how the feud may have an effect in the upcoming 2025 senatorial elections, explaining that the WPS may even be raised in the elections, potentially impacting the slate of candidates for senators and different political parties.

Asked if this could be the reason behind the recent jabs from Duterte’s allies against Marcos — specifically, Marcos’ own former executive secretary Victor Rodriguez, Duterte’s former presidential spokesperson Harry Roque and former Speaker Pantaleon Alvarez — Tayao said it is hard to say.

READ: AFP, PNP reject Alvarez’s call to turn back on gov’t

“By way of analogy, most likely, because they do belong to the same group. But further than that, I really have no idea,” he said.

To recall, Rodriguez recently called on Marcos to take a hair follicle and subject it to a drug test, seemingly reigniting Duterte’s drug allegations against the president in January during a Davao prayer rally.

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Alvarez, for his part, called on both the police and military to withdraw their support from Marcos.

TAGS: Duterte, Marcos, WPS

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