- Roque denied PH has ‘given up too much, too soon’ to China amid growing militarization of the West PH Sea
- The Palace official said the PH ‘non-combative’ stance is actually beneficial to the country
- Roque was reacting to a remark by a UP professor on PH’s alleged soft policy in dealing with Beijing
MANILA, Philippines – The Malacañang Palace has denied the Philippines has ‘given up too much, too soon’ to China amid reports of the increasing militarization in the West Philippine Sea which happened during the present administration.
In a statement, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque maintained the current administration’s passive stance against China in the territorial dispute is actually beneficial to the country, compared to the more aggressive stance of the previous administration.
“The Duterte administration has certainly not given up too much, too early, too soon in its relation with China nor China has gained more than us,” said Roque during a press briefing on Monday.
“On the contrary, we have upheld our national interest and produced tangible benefits for our people in pursuing friendly and mutually-beneficial ties with China,” he added.
Roque’s statement was in response to the remark of Jay Batongbacal, director of the University of the Philippines Institute for Maritime Affairs and Law of the Sea, who said despite China’s promise of billions of dollars’ worth of projects, not one of them has broken ground even after a year has passed.
“We are trading away too much, too early and too soon in dealing with China,” said Batongbacal.
Batongbacal also lambasted the ‘soft policy’ of the Duterte admin in dealing with Beijing by allowing Chinese fishermen to fish in the West Philippine Sea without any interference, and no longer making an issue on the presence of Chinese Coast Guards in the rea.
“China is gaining too much from our softness on these issues,” Batongbacal said.