• ‘Rejecting Chinese offer, a bad decision’


    Sen. Ferdinand Marcos Jr. on Thursday said the Philippine government wasted an opportunity to defuse– if not settle–tensions over disputed territories in the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea) when it rejected Beijing’s offer to hold bilateral talks.

    “China opened the door and we shut it. The Chinese said let’s talk and we snubbed them.

    It’s an opportunity to resolve our differences but we failed to take advantage of it,” Marcos added.

    The senator was reacting to an earlier pronouncement by Malacañang that the Philippine government is firm in pursuing a multilateral approach to the territorial row, particularly through the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean).

    Communications Secretary Hermino Coloma Jr., insisted that the Philippines will continue pushing for a legally binding Code of Conduct on the South China Sea between the Asean and China.

    Malacanang made the statement a day after Chinese Ambassador to the Philippines Zhao Jianhua said China’s door for bilateral consultation and negotiation is still open and will be open forever.

    Zhao added that the “best way” to peacefully settle disputes is to resume bilateral negotiation without any condition.

    Marcos, vice chairman of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, noted that the Philippines is not going to lose anything by accepting the Chinese invitation to a dialogue on the West Philippine Sea dispute.

    “So talk, and tell them, ‘We are not happy with what you are doing and we do not agree with what you are doing.’ But the next thing you say is, ‘How do we fix this?’” he said.

    According to Marcos, there are only three ways to resolve disputes–by war, adjudication and multilateral and bilateral agreements.

    “We do not want war. Arbitration is not one that is going to be recognized by the Chinese. So it has to be negotiations,” he said.

    The bilateral approach was used to end a row over rich fishing grounds between the United Kingdom and Spain in the early 1980s.

    “In the end, what did they do? They came to a bilateral agreement to share and now they are working on that basis,” Marcos said.

    Sen. Juan Edgardo Angara, in an earlier interview, said while the offer of China to resume bilateral talks with the Philippines is a welcome development, Beijing must show sincerity by making the offer through official channels.

    “They [China] should make a formal offer, through formal channels so that they can be studied carefully by the Department of Foreign Affairs and the President,” Angara, also the vice chairman of the foreign relations committee, added.

    Support the team
    Senate President Pro-Tempore Ralph Recto, meanwhile, said the country must stand behind the Philippine delegation to The Hague for an arbitration case that Manila had filed against China.

    “Because when China succeeds, through might, not right, in making the West Philippine Sea its exclusive fishpond, it will not only lead to the disappearance of a large chunk of space from our territory, but also fish from our table,” Recto added.

    According to the senator, the Philippines stands to lose around P200 million a day in fish catch if China puts up “no fishing” sign on its reclaimed areas in the West Philippine Sea.

    “This is the reason why, regardless of our politics, whoever our bet for 2016 is, we should unite in support of our Philippine delegation to The Hague,” Recto said.

    He added that of the 4.705 million metric tons (MT) of fish caught in 2013, commercial fishers contributed 1.067 million MT, while municipal fishermen added 1.264 million MT. The rest, or 2.374 million MT, was raised through aquaculture.

    It was estimated that more than three-fourths of total commercial and municipal fishing production come from rich fishing grounds in the West Philippine Sea.


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    1. If China will pull out her 9dash line claim in the South China Sea, then we can sit down with them and talk about the conduct that needs to be followed by all countries concerned in the South China Sea. They should also need to pull out their big ship to lessen tension.

    2. I find Sen. Marcos is very right in his approach. Arbitration to be applicable must have the consent of the disputing parties, otherwise the dispute cannot be resolved by it. It . loses its’ jurisdiction. The high powered delegation sent involves a lot of money of Juan dela Cruz. This Senator knows best for our country.

    3. Eliseo Jr. P.Tenza on

      You have a piece of land inherited from your ancestors. Your neighbor is a rich powerful family. Your neighbor started to develop his structures inside your property.
      You complained to your neighbor that he is encroaching in your property. He doesnt care, he even claimed that that is part of his property. you appoint a lawyer to bring the matter to court. Your neighbor states that he will not attend the hearing and will not abide by the courts decision. Some of your other neighbors who are likewise rich and powerful sided with you. Your encroaching neighbor is worried, and ask you for talks.
      What is your stand,? he removes the structure encroaching into your property? or accept the talks with you knowing he will not give up his illegal construction?
      Are you going to be a man and protect what your ancestors gave you? or be a mouse to accept his talks?

    4. In times of dispute with other country. Filipinos must take a united stand in support of the government policy…… Bongbong Marcos listen, duck tape your mouth. The dissenting opinion is of no help but Marcos acts like unpatriotic traitor.

    5. How can you deal with a bandit country like China who steals our territory,food chain and livelihood of our fisherman.A barbarian country who doesnt believe in international law,look what they did to Tibet,the tibetian now are slave to China no freedom at all.Sen.Marcos wake up to reality.

    6. Samuel Santos on

      The Chinese know that PNoy won’t be president forever. “Disputes” related to the West Philippine Sea would best be resolved when B.S. Aquino is longer in Malacanang.

    7. genesisbughaw on

      Let’s work as a TEAM.
      The problem of ego driven position of Yellowtards trumpheting on Asean Centrality as if everything is absolute.

      Thus give rise to stupidity.

      Just open the process.
      The issue before the International Tribunal On The Law of the Seas is not only between the little cute Philippines and the Giant China.

      Can you see that it involved the 21st Century World Community?

      We know why UNCLOS was created and instituted and now we are there following all the mechanism for legitimate reason.

      So for the Yellowtards, ala e, sabi nga ni purmir sinator Arroyo e parang Student Council ang Malacanang.

      Keep your mind open.
      China now is at the center for World Harmony, Peace and Development.
      Let it be our asset in our position.


      Gob Bless the Philippines!


      • how many times did we had bilateral talks with china? too many… and what happen? they don’t recognize those agreements. by sending our delegates to hague will formally enlighten everyone about our rights and priviledges, what is ours. since china is bullying all asian countries then is is about time to bring it internationally maybe UN for sure can mediate and can clarify issues of all concerned countries.

    8. supporting our team in the Hague is fully agreeable.I think the Senate Pro-Tempore is right.

    9. I was a member of a panel representing an airline in a negotiation for air traffic rights with China sometime ago. As usual in such talks the first session would take up after the formalities of the introduction of delegation the agenda the panels wish to negotiate on. Foremost in the agenda of both panels is of course the matter of air traffic volume which our panel was more interested in for the obvious reason that we need more Chinese tourists and business travelers coming to our country. The Chinese however wanted to include as an item for discussion a matter about taxation. Our chairman reacted that our panel was not ready to talk about tax matters so he rejected it. Right away the Chinese panel stood up and left and we were told that lunch will be served shortly. We were later advised at lunch that the meeting is over. In our post meeting discussion among ourselves we realized that it was the Philippine panel who requested the meeting in the first place and China was the host but the superior and more powerful side. Lesson learned that time was we should have been open to discussing matters they suggested so that we do not lose the opportunity to negotiate our own interests such as the air rights. We rejected their suggested matter for discussion so we were abruptly sent home after a free lunch. When China offered to talk unilaterally on the current dispute perhaps we should have accepted. We should not delude ourselves into thinking that they have blinked and we now have the upper hand. They could not care less if we refuse to talk to them they will more likely just send us home after some niceties like what they did to us before.

    10. Mariano Patalinjug on

      Yonkers, New York
      09 July 2015

      I am shocked that Senator Ferdinand Marcos Jr. should prefer bilateral talks with China on the simmering territorial dispute the Philippines has with that nation knowing that even as he made that amazing statement, a high-powered Delegation from the Philippines is now engaged in Oral Arguments at the Peace Palace in The Hague, The Netherlands, in an honest and determined effort to prove that the PERMANENT COURT OF ARBITRATION has JURISDICTION over the case.

      Is Senator Marcos suddenly taking on the role as a spokesman for the Chinese Ambassador for the Philippines? How unseemly if not traitorous is that for a Filipino senator? It was just the other day that Chinese Ambassador ZHAO JIANHUA suggested that the Philippines and China should go for “bilateral talks” instead of the Philippines opting for ARBITRATION.

      What Senator Marcos is doing–if he is aware of it!–is that he is undermining what the Philippine Delegation is now doing before the PCA in The Hague!

      Is he aware that in “bilateral talks,” the Philippines would be at a very serious disadvantage, it being comparably metaphorically just a Chihuahua against China, an 800-pound gorilla?

      And that is not to mention the fact that Arbitration is the proper, the legal and the civilized way civilized nations settle territorial disputes, such as that which the Philippines, a law-abiding and civilized member of the United Nations,has just resorted to.


    11. sonny dela cruz on

      Marcos doesn’t understand the position of the Philippine government towards China. The Philippines did the right thing by rejecting the ploy of bilateral talks to diffuse the tensions in the Philippine sea. China has said many times that they will never negotiate the sovereignty of China sea to any countries that are claiming the rights of the islets inside the China sea. Does Marcos understand that simple words, “NEVER NEGOTIATE”. The only option of the Philippines is to attack all those ships in the Philippine waters that driving out our fishermen for their livelihood. If I were the President of the Philippines, I will attack all those ships inside the Philippine waters, SUNK THEM, then let the United States, Japan and Australians to take the rest. That is the only way you can diffuse the tension in the West Philippine sea.

    12. Bilateral negotiation will lead no where. China’s refusal to recognize the international law only means they are standing on their ground. What do you think China will offer when P.I. agrees to a bilateral talk? Do you think they will give up their claims? The only way to remove them from their illegally occupied islands is by force. A U.N. led coalition.