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Tinawag na iresponsable ni Vice Pres. Leni Robredo ang pahayag ni Pangulong Rodrigo Duterte na handang isantabi ang arbitral ruling sa West Philippine Sea kapalit ng joint exploration doon kasama ang China.

Ayon kay Robredo, malaking kahihiyan kung itutuloy ng administrasyon ang plano dahil parang tinalikuran na rin nito ang responsibilidad sa pagprotekta sa mga pag-aari ng estado.

“The recent declaration by the President that he will “ignore” the arbitral ruling upholding the Philippine exclusive economic zone (EEZ) in the West Philippine Sea to pave the way for a joint oil and gas exploration agreement with China is profoundly disappointing and extremely irresponsible.”

Para sa bise presidente, maituturing na epektibong sandata ang consistency o katapatan sa bawat pahayag at posisyon ng pamahalaan sa iba’t-ibang issue.

“The strongest anchor to our claim must be consistency—in our official positions, in our negotiations, and in the statements of our top officials. A firm, consistent assertion of our legal rights does not require a single shot being fired, yet why do the President and his administration constantly fail at doing it?”

Nitong Martes nang aminin ng pangulo na hiniritan siya kamakailan ni Chinese Pres. Xi Jinping para tuluyan ng isantabi ang desisyon ng Permanent Court of Arbitration.

“In attempting to justify this move, the President has once more tried to argue that in the matter of the West Philippine Sea, the only two choices available to us are capitulation or conflict. Again, as a number of respected authorities have done so before, I must point out that THIS IS NOT TRUE. Open warfare is far from the sole means of asserting our rights to our EEZ, as our neighboring nations Vietnam and Indonesia have recently and repeatedly proven.”

Una ng pumalag si Foreign Affairs Sec. Teddyboy Locsin, Jr. dahil malaking kapalit umano ang kaakibat ng pagwawalang bahala ng gobyerno sa kasong naipanalo ng estado.

“The President’s own Secretary of Foreign Affairs has stated that there is no need to set aside the 2016 ruling in order for joint development between China and the Philippines to move forward. Entering into any agreement should not come at the expense of upholding our rights to the West Philippine Sea.”

“Our own Constitution already grants the State ample authority to enter into agreements with foreign entities for exploration and development of oil and gas resources, provided that these shall lead to “real contributions to the economic growth and general welfare of the country.” Why, then, was this reckless pronouncement made?”

“Ultimately, how the President handles the delicate issue of the West Philippine Sea will have implications, not only for the remainder of his term, but for all subsequent administrations. It will affect the lives not just of our generation of Filipinos, but that of our children, and our children’s children.”

Sa kabila nito, tiniyak ng kalihim na hindi mako-kompromiso ang arbitral victory ng Pilipinas kahit pa matuloy ang oil and gas exploration ng estado at China sa naturang bahagi ng karagatan.