Saying sovereignty is non-negotiable, Vice President Jejomar Binay promised to pursue all possible means to resolve a dispute in connection with the country’s territorial claims in the South China Sea (West Philippine Sea).
He added that he will hold talks with all stakeholders.
“Basta ho tayo is sovereignty is non-negotiable [For us, sovereignty is non-negotiable]. We will pursue all means possible. So for us ‘yung seguridad ng bawat Pilipino ay nagagarantihan at ‘yung ating pagmamamay-ari ay mapo-protektahan [So for us, that the security of every Filipino is guaranteed and what is ours is protected],” Binay told reporters in a chance interview over the weekend when asked on the matter.
The former Makati City (Metro Manila) mayor is running for President as the standard-bearer of the opposition United Nationalist Alliance (UNA).
When also asked if the means he referred to includes multilateral talks, Binay likened the matter to the country’s search for lasting peace in its southern region of Mindanao.
“Well, katulad lang naman ‘yun in our quest for lasting peace. Makikipagpulong, makikipag-usap tayo sa lahat ng stakeholders like dito sa Mindanao para makagawa ng isang agreement na alinsunod din unang una sa ating batas [Well it is just like our quest for lasting peace. We will sit down, hold talks with all stakeholders like here in Mindanao so that there will be an agreement that is also in line first of all with our laws],” he said.
The Philippines lodged a case against China, which also has claims in the disputed waters, before an international arbitration tribunal at The Hague in The Netherlands.
China, which refused to participate in the arbitration, wants bilateral talks.
On this, Binay said, “’Di natin pwedeng panghimasukan ‘yun. So sabi nga niya e, ayon sa pagkakaintindi ko e, sabi ng mga abugado natin…kapagka nakipag-bilateral ka na meron kang nai-file na arbitration e mawi-waive ‘yun [We cannot interfere with that. In my understanding, our lawyers said… if you enter into bilateral talks while having a pending arbitration case, it will be waived].”
“So ayun [that’s it], I suppose, hopefully it will be a decision favorable to the Philippines,” he added.