- Palace said it was former President Aquino who started militarization of WPS
- This was supposedly triggered by the grounding of a Navy ship in Panatag
- Duterte will not also apologize for his soft stance against China’s militarization
MANILA, Philippines – The Malacañang Palace is blaming former President Benigno Aquino III for supposedly starting the ‘militarization’ of West Philippine Sea by grounding a ship at the Panatag Shoal.
At the press briefing on Monday, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said the conflict in the disputed territory between the Philippines and China worsened after Aquino ordered the grounding of a Navy warship in Panatag following a heated stand-off in 2012.
“Kung tayo po ay gagamit ng dahas gaya ng ginawa ni Presidente Aquino na naging dahilan kung bakit nandoon na ngayon ang mga Tsino sa Panatag, ‘yung pagpapadala ng isang Navy ship, ay magreresulta po ‘yan sa isang hidwaang militar na iniiwasan natin,” said Roque.
[If we are to use force like what President Aquino did which is why Chinese troops are now in Panatag, by sending a Navy ship, it will result in a military conflict which we are trying to avoid.)
Roque also said President Rodrigo Duterte will not apologize for his soft stance on China’s ongoing militarization of the West Philippine Sea.
In fact, according to the Palace official, the President’s friendly ties with Beijing has resulted in a much better relationship between the two countries and the Philippines has benefited from it, economically and diplomatically.
“At itong bagong pagkakaibigan po, ito rin ang magbibigay ng solusyon dahil ang desisyon po ng Arbitral Tribunal, wala pong kinalaman sa pinag-aagawang isla,” said Roque.
[And this renewed friendship, this will provide the solution because the Arbitral Tribunal decision has nothing to do with the disputed island.]
“‘Yung mga pinag-aagawang isla po, kailangang maresolba rin ‘yan sa diplomasya,” he added. [The disputed islands should be resolved through diplomacy.]