VICE President Maria Leonor “Leni” Robredo on Thursday hit anew the recent pronouncement of President Rodrigo Duterte that he would ignore the arbitral ruling upholding the country’s victory in the West Philippine Sea, warning that his inaction is “selling” the future generation for a joint oil and gas deal with China.
“The recent declaration by the President that he will ‘ignore’ the arbitral ruling upholding the Philippine exclusive economic zone in the West Philippine Sea to pave way for a joint oil and gas exploration agreement with China is profoundly disappointing and extremely irresponsible,” Robredo said in a statement.
The Vice President warned that how Duterte would handle the issue would have implications even after he concludes his term a few years from now.
“It will affect the lives not just of our generation of Filipinos, but that of our children, and our children’s children…selling that future for a gas deal with China is a shameful way of abandoning that responsibility,” said Robredo.
This came after Duterte told reporters in Malacañang on Wednesday that his Chinese counterpart, President Xi Jinping, had promised to give the Pihilippines 60 percent of profit from any of its gas deals as long as the country would set aside its claim.
Robredo said that the President has “constantly failed” at maintaining a firm assertion of the country’s legal rights through his position and negotiation, along with the statements of his top officials.
The Vice President is a staunch critic of the administration for its non-confrontational stance on certain agreements with China, particularly on the disputed territory.
During his visit to China in August, Duterte failed to invoke the 2016 ruling of the UN-backed Permanent Court of Arbitration, which rejected Beijing’s maritime claim over the Philippines’ 200-nautical mile exclusive economic zone.
Malacañang had said that the Philippines would maintain peaceful negotiations with China despite the impasse, citing “centuries-old familial ties.” GLEE JALEA