Stop treating China with kid gloves.
This is the essence of what Vice-President Leni Robredo said regarding the continued encroachment of China of the country’s territories.
The second highest official of the land branded as a huge insult the statement of China that it is merely allowing Filipino fishermen to fish in Panatag Shoal “out of goodwill.”
“Out of goodwill” means that something is done or given as a kind act or out of favor and not because it is right, just or based on merit.
“I think that’s a huge slap on us, a big insult because why would fishermen need to secure permission to fish in their own sea?” Robredo remarked.
China gave the statement after a video footage of the Chinese Coast Guard taking the catch of Filipino fishermen went viral just a day before the country marked its 120th Independence Day.
The video caused massive public outrage and placed the administration of President Rodrigo Duterte on the defensive. Indignant netizens took the government to task for its failure to protect our territories and sovereign rights.
Robredo said that it is imperative for the government to dispatch a tighter security patrol in the area in order to protect what is ours and for the sake of the future generation.
“We need to strengthen our security forces not only for our fishermen but for all of us, for the generations that will come after us,” the vice-president said.
Acting Chief Justice Antonio Carpio echoed what Robredo said and warned that the Philippines may lose its legal right to fish on Scarborough shoal if it concedes to China’s “out of goodwill” narrative.
“Whether it’s goodwill or not, it is immaterial because the tribunal said it is a common fishing ground,” the most senior magistrate of the Supreme Court quipped.
Carpio was referring to the decision of the Permanent Court of Arbitration that ruled that the Philippines, China or Vietnam can conduct fishing activities in Scarborough since it was adjudged as a common fishing ground.
In the midst of China’s intensified attempt to claim and control the contested seas and islands and after the actual bullying of our fishermen by members of the Chinese coastguard where videotaped and documented, Robredo described the government response to China’s illegal activities as too soft.
“Palagay ko masyado tayong malambot sa pag-deal sa mga incursion, hindi lang sa teritory, pati sa sovereignty (I think we were too soft in dealing with incursion not only on our territory, but also sovereignty), Robredo averred.
“Yung sa akin dapat palakasin ang boses, palakasin ang protesta (I think the protests should be louder), she added.
Robredo’s stand is in absolute contrast to the submissive and defeatist attitude shown and adopted by the Duterte administration.