The Liberal Party (LP) of the Philippines expressed deep concern on Duterte administration’s “nonchalant attitude” in playing down China’s militarization in the disputed South China Sea.
LP President Senator Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan reminded the government of its “sacred core duty” to protect the country’s territory on behalf of its people.
“That’s why we are deeply troubled that instead of expressing outrage, Malacañang displayed a nonchalant attitude in playing down China’s militarization of the entire South China Sea, including the West Philippine Sea.”
“What makes a country? Aside from the recognition of its neighbors, a country is defined by its territory and the people in that territory, and its ability to defend its territory and people. Thus, it is the government’s sacred core duty to protect its territory in behalf of its people,” he added.
LP’s statement came after Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque downplayed reports that China is almost finished militarizing seven reefs claimed by the Philippines.
“You know when I saw the headline, yes, it’s a fact perhaps, but is that news? I don’t think so. I think the moment that they start the reclamation, they declared that they will use it, they will have military facilities into the islands,” Roque said.
Roque added that the government will continue to rely upon China’s promise that it will not reclaim new artificial islands.
“It disturbs every Filipino to hear the Malacañang spokesman relying on China’s mere words that it would not reclaim new islands, thus, we can sleep soundly at night. It’s like telling Filipinos not to worry because while China constructed a building, it would only stay on the ground floor,” Pangilinan said.
The party also called on the government to “not stand idly by” and instead protest against the “blatant” violations of China in the Spratly islands.
“We, the people, demand that the government, at the very least, not stand idly by and instead protest these blatant violations of the Declaration of the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea and beef up the country’s defenses in guarding what’s left of our territory,” the statement read.