DFA chief: We’re not blaming Aquino for losing control of areas in West PH Sea
Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano on Wednesday insisted that they are not blaming the Aquino administration for losing control over some of the Philippine-claimed areas in the West Philippine Sea (WPS).
At a Congressional briefing by the National Task Force for the West Philippine Sea (NTF-WPS) on the recent developments in the WPS, Magdalo Rep. Gary Alejano called out Cayetano for repeatedly “blaming” former President Benigno Aquino III, citing the country lost control over the Bajo de Masinloc (Scarborough Shoal) in the WPS.
Cayetano also cited Aquino’s previous statement comparing Beijing’s actions in the WPS to Nazi Germany’s demands for Czech territory in the 1930s, which he said worsen the rift in the diplomatic relationship between the Philippines and China.
“Kasi parang binabalik natin lagi kay President Aquino. I also disagree with Aquino calling Chinese Nazis but ang nangyayari sa atin palagi kino-compare natin,” Alejano said.
“What I’m asking is now, not the past admin, kasi kayo ang nakaupo eh,” he added.
Cayetano gave assurances they are not blaming anyone and that they are “just stating the facts.”
“We’re not blaming the past admin. Some critics are just making it appear na iba ang situation ngayon. We’re just saying that we inherited it from the past admin,” Cayetano said.
“For example the Scarborough, we controlled Scarborough until 2011 nung nagkaroon ng ng misfire ‘yung Aquino admin,” he added.
“We are just simply stating the fact na nawala ito during his (Aquino’s) time,” he continued.
Earlier in the briefing, Cayetano said when President Rodrigo Duterte assumed office in 2016, they were “trying to improve a bad situation inherited from the past administration.”
“Did we mess up? No, we inherited a bad situation and we’re trying to make good of a bad situation here,” Cayetano said.
“When Duterte came in like in a company you have to stop the bleeding first. We talked to China, we drew lines. They asked us not to build in uninhabited land; not to extract resources unilaterally. We told them do not build in Scarborough, don’t touch Ayungin, don’t stop resupply of troops, do not extract oil unilaterally,” he added.
Cayetano also said they have filed “maybe 50 to 100” diplomatic protests against China since 2016 but they opted not to be “loud about it.”
“We’ve been filing diplomatic protests. But the critics want us to announce it loudly and to confront China each and every time through the media. That is not conducive to the ongoing talks,” he said.
“It’s critics who want na everyday nasa news at Facebook. We’re taking diplomatic actions… Kung gusto natin contest siraang plaka, lugi kami because we have a job to do,” he added.
For Cayetano, a diplomatic protest has “no specific form,” as long as “the content” is there.
“When the president tells a president that is mine… that’s a protest, when we file a note verbale, if we list down concerns, that’s a protest. When I go up to you and say, ‘Cong. pasensya ka na I disagree with you,’ that’s a protest… If I get the microphone and say China hindi tama ginagawa nyo that’s also a form of protest,” the official explained. /vvp
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