“Did joint US-PH patrols ever stop China from encroaching into Philippine waters? The President is right in pursuing a different tact in protecting and asserting Philippine jurisdiction over the West Philippine Sea and upholding the United Nations’ Tribunal decision in favor of the Philippines.”
Thus said Gabriela Women’s Party Representative Emmi De Jesus as the partylist group expressed support at President Duterte’s decision to stop the joint patrols being conducted by the Philippine Navy with the US Navy in the said contested sea lanes and territories.
Supreme Court Associate Justice Antonio Carpio has since questioned the said decision.
“Ano ba talaga ang ginagawa ng US doon? Sa mga nananatili at nag-iikot sa naturang teritoryo, sila ang pinaka-walang karapatang manatili doon. Ni hindi sila kabilang sa mga umaangkin sa naturang lugar. The United States government has no business patrolling in the area,” said De Jesus.
Gabriela colleague Arlene Brosas meanwhile said that with Duterte seeking to remove any activities that may be deemed as a demonstration of hostility or provocation in the area, the President should also bat for Filipino fisherfolks’ return to the fishing grounds without threat.
“China should see the withdrawal of US Navy patrols in the area as an act of goodwill from the Philippines that will pave the way for more productive bilateral dialogues. Putting an end to joint US-PH patrols in the West Philippine Sea is by itself an assertion of Philippine sovereign right over territorial waters.” #