SENATOR Francis ‘TOL’ N. Tolentino said that having a joint disaster relief effort with the People’s Republic of China is a more feasible scenario for the Philippines amid proposal for Manila and Beijing to conduct joint maritime patrols along the disputed territories in the West Philippine Sea (WPS).
“Ang mas nakikita kong pupwede sa ngayon—joint disaster team. Kasi po may tinatawag na HADR. Ito po yung humanitarian assistance and disaster relief. Kung gusto nilang tumulong doon sa nabaha sa atin, payagan natin kasi mayroon naman pong U.N. resolution ito,” said Tolentino during an interview with Super Radyo DZBB.
Tolentino cited United Nations Resolution Nos. 46-182 and 58-114 which are both imbued with principles on humanity, partiality, and independence.
“Kapag yung humanitarian-disaster (efforts), kapag may relief—tayo nga nakapasok sa Turkey—pinapayagan naman iyon. Ang kundisyon ko lang, kapag tumulong sila sa relief at disaster assistance (dito sa Pilipinas), payagan din tayong pumasok sa China,” said Tolentino.
Tolentino, vice chairman of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, stressed that it’s hard for the Philippine government to accept Beijing’s proposal for the conduct of bilateral patrol in WPS, considering that China is not a treaty ally nor has the Philippines had any existing mutual defense treaty with the Asian superpower.
“Kung magkakaroon ng joint patrol (kasama ang China), dapat po ito maging bahagi ng isang tratado na may concurrence ang Senado,” the senator said.