GMA News Online : Marcos Jr. questions how US can help resolve Philippine-China issues

25 January 2022

By GISELLE OMBAY | GMA News Online

Presidential aspirant Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. on Tuesday said the Chinese government may no longer help the country if the Philippines also seeks help from the United States.

In an interview on dzRH, Marcos said that foreign policy, particularly relations with China was the first issue that he would address should he win the presidential race given.

Asked if he thought it would be worse for the country if it sought US support in its territorial dispute with China, Marcos said, “Hindi maayos ang problema natin sa China. Hindi na tayo pakikinggan ng China.”

(Our problem with China would not be solved. They would no longer listen to us.)

“Anong matutulong ng US? Dahil ang US, ‘pag pinasok mo ‘yung US, kalaban mo na agad ‘yung China,” he added.

(How could the US help us? If we include the US, China would immediately resist this.)

Neither did he consider the 1951 Mutual Defense Treaty (MDT) between the Philippines and the US helpful as far as the West Philippine Sea dispute was concerned.

“Anong klaseng tulong? Magdadala din sila ng aircraft carrier dito at tututukan na naman nila ‘yung mga warships na mga ganon. Isipin ninyo kung magka-giyera? Sino kawawa sa giyerang ‘yan, eh di Pilipinas,” he said.

(What kind of help? They would bring an aircraft carrier and they would make their presence felt? What if a war breaks out? The Philippines would suffer the most from it.)

“Kaya hindi tayo papanig sa US dahil ang interes ng Pilipinas ang ating inaaalala at ‘pagka sinama mo ‘yung US ay mahihirapan na tayong makipagusap sa China,” he added.

(We won’t side with the US because we are concerned with Philippine interests. If we include the US, it would be difficult to negotiate with China.)

Philippine envoy to the US Jose Manuel Romualdez earlier said that the Philippines had been receiving a large amount of military assistance from the United States since 2016 at almost $600 million.

Romualdez also noted that the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) had contributed to this milestone of obtaining a “fair share of resistance,” giving the Philippine military the ability to resist any foreign power, including China.

Clear it’s part of the Philippines

Marcos said his plan was to negotiate with China and ask them to allow Filipino fishermen to fish in the West Philippine Sea (WPS).

He added that he had brought the matter up with the Chinese Embassy.

“Sinasabi ko, ‘Mahirap kami, kaibigan namin kayong China, pero mahirap kami makatulong sa inyo kung lumalabag naman kayo sa… at pinapahirapan naman ninyo ang pangkaraniwan lang eh hindi naman threat, bangka lang naman ang dadalhin nila,’” he said.

(I told them that we are friends with China but it would be hard for us to work with them if they violate the ruling… and they are giving our ordinary fishermen a hard time. The fishermen aren't a threat, all they have small fishing boats.)

“Hindi niyo naman kailangan ang isda doon. Eh di dapat ay pabayaan naman ninyo na makapasok at huwag niyong hahadlangan ang ating mga fishermen. Dahil, very clear na it’s part of the Philippines.”

(China doesn’t need to fish in the WPS, so they should let our fishermen be. It is very clear that it is part of the Philippines.)

And if China continued to prohibit Filipino fishermen from the West Philippine Sea, the Philippines could seek help from ASEAN countries, the United Nations, and other international organizations.

The Philippine government sued China before an international arbitral tribunal in The Hague in 2013. The tribunal ruled in favor of the Philippines in July 2016 when it junked China's nine-dash claim over the South China Sea.

Nevertheless, the Chinese Coast Guard in November 2021 blocked and water cannoned two Philippine supply boats on a resupply mission to the Ayungin Shoal.

China also demanded that the Philippines remove the grounded Philippine vessel BRP Sierra Madre from the Ayungin Shoal a day after Filipino boats reached the grounded Navy ship to complete their resupply mission. — DVM, GMA News