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    VP Leni denounces Chinese Coast Guard driving away Pinoy TV crew from Panatag Shoal

    VP Leni denounces Chinese Coast Guard driving away Pinoy TV crew from Panatag Shoal
    Robredo calls on administration to stand for PH rights in West PH Sea

    Vice President Leni Robredo has denounced the blocking of a Filipino news crew’s interview with Filipino fishermen at Panatag Shoal, which the Chinese Coast Guard said needed “permission from China.”

    On her weekly radio show, “BISErbisyong LENI,” live from Naga City, VP Leni said the incident underscored the disrespect that China is showing despite the Philippines’ landmark victory before the arbitral tribunal.

    “Nakakatakot na nakakagalit,” she said of the incident. “Nakakalungkot kasi ito iyong pinapamukha sa atin: na talagang iyong mga dapat may karapatan naman tayo, inaangkin ng iba—inaangkin ng China.”

    The encounter involved the crew of the GMA-7 documentary program “Reporter’s Notebook,” who again accompanied a group of Filipino fishermen at Panatag Shoal last Nov. 8.

    A footage of the said exchange showed a member of the Chinese Coast Guard driving away the crew, saying: “Without the permission of China, you cannot carry out the interview here.” The said officer also warned that they “will make a forced manner” (sic) if the crew did not leave the area.

    The Vice President slammed the administration’s defeatist attitude towards China’s encroachment in the territory. She reiterated the need for the government to stand up to such treatment, especially in light of the arbitral ruling, which upheld Philippines’ rights over the West Philippine Sea.

    She also noted that China’s insistent claims over the area will have lasting effects not only on the country’s sovereignty, but on resources, and the welfare of fishermen and their families, who count on the area for their livelihood.

    “Noong nakaraan lang na mga araw, mayroong deklarasyon si Pangulo na sinasabi na, ‘Wala na tayong magagawa.’ Kapag iyong Pangulo na iyong nagsabi na wala nang magagawa, parang ginive up natin iyong pakikipaglaban,” she said.

    “Iyong mga irresponsible na mga comments galing sa Pangulo, galing sa spokesman, galing sa ating mga ibang officials, tantamount ito sa pagbebenta ng sovereignty natin. Kaya sana nag-iingat sa mga sinasabi, kasi iyong apektado dito, hindi lang tayo pero iyong mga henerasyon na susunod sa atin. Kasi iyong pagbuhay ng bawat Pilipino, nakataya dito,” she added.

    “Ang tanong, bakit ba interesado sila diyan? Dahil maraming makukuha na yaman. Bakit ba natin binibigay nang napakadali para sa kanila? Pinaglaban na natin ito nang legal. Mayroon na tayong mga karapatan na nadeklara sa pakikipaglaban natin. Bakit ba pagkatapos nating ipaglaban, parang handang-handa tayong isantabi ito?” she went on.

    Transparency on deals

    VP Leni also underscored the importance of the administration’s transparency in the 29 deals that it entered into with the Chinese government, during the visit of Chinese President Xi Jinping.

    In particular, she raised concerns over the memorandum of understanding on oil and gas exploration, which creates a body that will study how the Philippines and China can pursue such undertaking in the West Philippine Sea. VP Leni noted that the Constitution has clear rules over such moves, in a bid to secure Filipino interests in them.

    “Dapat naiintindihan natin lahat ano ba iyong mga kasunduan na pinasok? Ano ba iyong gustong sabihin noon para sa ordinaryong Pilipino? Ano ba iyong benepisyong makukuha natin doon? At ano iyong obligasyon natin?” she said.

    “Kung papasok tayo sa isang agreement with China, kung ako iyong pamahalaan, sasabihin ko muna, ‘I-recognize niyo muna iyong ruling ng arbitral tribunal, kasi kung hindi niyo iyon ire-recognize’—karapatan na natin, eh—‘walang basehan para magpasok ako sa isang agreement with you,’” she added.

    Posted in Press Releases on Nov 25, 2018