MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte is “going beyond” the constitutional provision pertaining to the country’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ) “to serve and protect the people,” Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said Monday morning.
“He is precisely going beyond that provision using Article 2 Section 4 of the Constitution which says that the prime duty of the government—which he (Duterte) heads—is to protect and to serve the people. Eh mas matindi nga yung ginagawa niya, he’s thinking about the 110 million Filipinos,” Panelo said in an interview with ABS-CBN News Channel.
Panelo was reacting to criticisms over Duterte’s supposed disregard of a provision in the Philippine Constitution after allowing Chinese fishermen to fish in the Philippine’s EEZ after Beijing granted Filipino fishermen access to Scarborough Shoal.
“They (critics and detractors) cannot seem to understand that it’s not as easy as that. They cite about Vietnam and other countries asserting their authority and then there’d be several armed conflicts between the two sides,” Panelo said.
“Is that what we want? We will sacrifice the lives of our people? When there is an armed conflict, certainly lives will be lost. Do we want that to happen? When we can get what we want through negotiations?,” he added. (Editor: Gilbert S. Gaviola)