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Rody’s critics weigh in on Duterte’s RP as China province joke

Liberal Party legislators and their allies, who have been out of power for too long—at least that which appears what less than two years as too long a time out of power—that they can’t even take a presidential joke.

Lawmakers who are constant critics of President Duterte yesterday weighed in on the President’s joke in making the Philippines a province of China.
The lawmakers said the joke is a manifestation of the President’s subservience to China.
“It’s becoming a habit of the President to defer always to the wishes of China and such joke manifests his willful subservience at the expense of our sovereignty,” Akbayan Rep Tom Villarin said yesterday.

Villarin said that with President Duterte in Malacañang, the Filipino people will not be able to assert their rights over their territory.
“With him as President, we will become inutile to assert our rights even through diplomacy and will be sold to China for a pittance. The joke is on us if we don’t call him out for such irresponsible statements,” Villarin said.
Magdalo Rep Gary Alejano, who has been very vocal about the government’s reluctance to assert its sovereign rights, said it is unacceptable for the President, the top diplomat of the country, to joke about making the Philippines a province of China.
“Such irresponsible banter is a slap in the face of the many Filipinos, including our soldiers stationed in our occupied islands, who work tirelessly to defend our territorial integrity from China,” Alejano, a former Marine officer, said.
“This only shows how indifferent and apathetic Duterte is to China’s bastardization of our sovereignty,” Alejano added.
Alejano said that Duterte’s joke is actually quite close to the truth. He said that the Duterte administration has claimed that it has remained steadfast in protecting the country’s territorial claims but its inactions dictate otherwise.
The Magdalo lawmaker said that he has received a report that around a month ago, Chinese fishing vessels and Chinese Coast Guard and Navy have been taking aggressive actions against our Navy ship in Pag-asa Island.
Meanwhile, the Chinese Coast Guard and Navy vessels closed in and shadowed the Philippine Navy ship for as close as 2 nautical miles northwest of Pag-asa Island, near the sandbars.
The semi-circle formation and shadowing used by the Chinese vessels around the Philippine Navy ship displayed the “cabbage strategy” being employed by China to control a specific area. The quick response of Chinese vessels upon the arrival of our Navy ship in Pag-asa Island suggests that they are permanently stationed nearby. “We could infer that the reclaimed areas by China in the West Philippine Sea, particularly Subi Reef, are being used as forward operating bases. Again, confirming the militarization in the disputed waters,” he said.
Alejano noted that the rapid militarization of the West Philippine Sea, lack of formal and transparent protests by our government, the reported Chinese-Philippine resource ventures – all of these point to a passive and subservient strategy by the administration.
“The President should be reminded that our territorial integrity and sovereignty are issues that should never be joked about,” the lawmaker said.
Anakpawis Rep. Ariel Casilao yesterday decried the joke made by President Duterte for the Philippines to be a province of China, saying it was not a laughing matter.
He said that it was an irresponsible remark especially as the Chinese government has been on a non-stop building its military facility left and right in the South China Sea which were well within the Philippines Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) and Continental Shelf.
“He only acts tough against opposition, critics and poor Filipinos but with China, he had the audacity to even go too far to make the Philippines a province of China. That is very unpatriotic,” Casiao added.
Duterte’s pronouncement, Casilao said, is one the reasons China is belittling the country’s protest against their military build-up in the South China Sea.
The highest official of the land doesn’t want to assert our country’s sovereign right asserting the enforcement of the UN Tribunal decision invalidating the Chinese government’s nine-dash claim,” the lawmaker also said.
“Patriotic Filipinos should also speak up; we should not let the president get away with this kind of reckless statement. Apparently, his stance opposing against China’s militarization of the SCS was only lip service but in reality; he just let China to further construct more infrastructures inside our territory,” said Casilao.
Senators dismiss Rody’s joke
Senators merely shrugged off President Duterte’s most recent pronouncement, joking about making the Philippines a province of China.
Senate President Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel dismissed any significance of the President’s “joke” even as it came in the wake of reports on China naming some of the undersea features in the Philippine Rise, formerly Benham Rise.
“I heard that joke two months ago in a personal gathering, so he probably saw that the joke was taken well, so he cracked the joke again.” he said.
“Well, our President loves to crack jokes. What is important isfor us to be vigilant to make sure that no steps are being taken to make us a province of China,” Pimentel added.
Senators Gregorio Honasan and Panfilo Lacson shared the attitude of the upper chamber chief.
“It will be presumptuous on my part to comment on the President’s vocabulary. To me, from where I sit, the more prudent thing to do is not to concentrate on the vocabulary of the President but on the policies, if they are gaining traction on the ground, the implementation,” Honasan, chair of the committee on national defense and security.

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