DAVAO CITY, Philippines—A women’s party-list group said it is high time that Philippines should assert its sovereignty by ending the US-Philippine patrols in the contested West Philippine sea.
Gabriela Women’s Party Representative Emmi De Jesus, in a statement Thursday, Oct. 13, supported the decision of President Rodrigo Duterte to end the joint patrols conducted by the navies of both countries.
“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,” De Jesus said.
De Jesus said that even Supreme Court Associate Justice Antonio Carpio has since questioned the said decision.
“What US Navy troops are really doing there? Those who stay and navigate in the contested territory are the people who has no right to stay there. They are not even part of those who claim the area. The United States government has no business patrolling in the area,” she added.
On the other hand, Arlene Brosas of Gabriela 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,” Brosas said. (davaotoday.com)