Give China all Phl areas it’s claiming


TO BE consistent in his supine position, President Rodrigo Duterte might as well formally abandon Philippine rights over maritime areas being claimed by China and renounce the favorable UNCLOS arbitration ruling in The Hague last July on these disputes.

After winning the arbitration case and keeping alive the claims over isles, shoals, reefs and other areas in Philippine waters, it drains the spirit to hear the Duterte administration say it will not protest the Chinese buildup and militarization of the sites.

The Philippines may be militarily inferior to China, but weakness is not enough reason for its tough-talking leaders to lower their voice, and rationalize their compromising national dignity by citing Beijing’s promise to bring in trade, investments and infrastructure.

Traveling with President Duterte in Singapore, Foreign Affairs Secretary Perfecto Yasay Jr. explained the Philippines’ seeming helplessness:

“We cannot, we cannot stop China at this point in time and saying ‘do not put that up’ – we will continue to pursue peaceful means at which all of this can be prevented.”

What “peaceful means” is Yasay talking about in the midst of China’s building of militarized islands on areas long claimed by the Philippines? He can talk that way probably because his American family is safely settled in the United States.

Yasay and President Duterte also said the administration will set aside in the meantime the ruling of the UNCLOS arbitral court invalidating Beijing’s claims to most of the South China Sea, so as not to impose on Beijing.