House leaders stand firmly behind PBBM in safeguarding PH interests in WPS

May 2, 2024 Ryan Ponce Pacpaco 157 views

HOUSE leaders are steadfast in their support for President Ferdinand “Bongbong” R. Marcos Jr.’s policy of safeguarding national interests while diligently pursuing diplomatic avenues amid the ongoing provocations by China in the West Philippine Sea (WPS).

“We just make sure that we sustain the foreign policy that the President is espousing. Iyon naman talaga ang magagawa natin. Hindi naman tayo pwedeng lumaban ng patas sa kanila. Hindi natin kakayanin,” Assistant Majority Leader Maria Amparo “Pammy” Zamora (Taguig City, 2nd District) said during Thursday’s press conference at the House of Representatives.

“We support the President in his foreign policy, and we strengthen our alliances sa mga nations that espouse the same beliefs. And siyempre we send that message that we cannot be bullied,” Zamora added.

Zamora was reacting to the latest incident in the WPS where China Coast Guard fired water cannons at two Philippine supply vessels near Bajo de Masinloc, which is within the Philippines’ exclusive economic zone.

Deputy Majority Leader Faustino “Inno” Dy (Isabela, 6th District) said such incidents “need to stop and should not be tolerated.”

Dy underscored the significance of continued transparency and solidarity among neighboring nations in addressing the challenges posed by China’s actions in the WPS.

“Of course, we will fully support whatever the foreign policy of our President and of him being the commander of the Armed Forces,” Dy pointed out. “But also we need to keep, as what we are doing now, we need to be more transparent, we are transparent on what’s happening in the WPS and ito pong ginagawa sa ating mga kababayan sa WPS, naabuso ang ating mga kababayan dito, iyon nga po may incident na naman itong water cannon.”

“This allows us to gain more support also from the international community, of course ano po our neighbors were also experiencing the same, kaya po we need to keep doing this to show the world and also international community kung ano po talaga iyong totoong nangyayari at sitwasyon dito po sa atin,” he added.

Assistant Majority Leader Mikaela Angela “Mika” Suansing (Nueva Ecija, 1st District) emphasized the importance of fortifying ties with the international community to address China’s aggression.

Suansing noted the significance of recent diplomatic achievements, particularly the trilateral meeting of President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr., President Joe Biden of the United States, and Prime Minister Fumio Kishida of Japan in Washington, D.C.

“Siguro po, given the recent developments, it’s very important for us to strengthen our ties with the international community, with countries that are willing to work with us in terms of addressing the aggression that China is currently doing,” Suansing said.

Suansing commended the outcomes of the trilateral meeting, citing the passage of the Philippines Enhanced Resilience Act (PERA) in the United States Congress as a notable achievement.

PERA pledges $800 million worth of aid, including military equipment and reinforcements, to the Philippines, demonstrating the success of President Marcos in forging strong ties with key international partners.

Suansing emphasized the importance of pursuing a diplomatic route in upholding international laws, including the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), and commended President Marcos’ efforts in this regard.

“What we want to have is, what we want to accomplish is a diplomatic route in terms of upholding UNCLOS and the different international laws na lahat naman po ay nakapanig, naka-side po sa assertion ng Pilipinas,” Suansing stated.

She also acknowledged the crucial role played by Speaker Ferdinand Martin G. Romualdez, the leader of the 300-plus-strong House of Representatives, in ensuring follow-through and implementation of agreements reached during the trilateral meeting.

“The House commends our President in all of his efforts and malaki din po iyong papel na ginampanan ng ating pinakakamahal na Speaker Martin Romualdez doon po sa pag-follow through doon po sa mga napag-usapan sa trilateral meeting,” Suansing added.

Deputy Majority Leader Jude Acidre (Tingog Partylist) underscored the significance of bolstering the capability of the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) in safeguarding maritime borders, particularly in light of escalating tensions in the WPS.

Acidre noted the imperative for increased support and resources for the PCG to effectively fulfill its mandate.

He said the forthcoming budget deliberation will be a crucial opportunity to prioritize enhancing the PCG’s capabilities, including equipment and training.

Acidre stressed the importance of ensuring that the PCG is adequately equipped to effectively monitor and protect Philippine waters, particularly in areas of strategic importance such as the WPS.

“Kasi definitely ang suporta with regards to equipment, training, kung ano pa na magpapalakas ng capability ng Coast Guard ay malaking bagay na magiging mas epektibo nilang mababantayan ang ating mga karagatan, lalung-lalo na sa [WPS], Acidre said.