Presidential aspirant and Manila mayor Francisco ‘Isko Moreno’ Domagoso vowed he would defend Philippine sovereignty and its territories even if it comes to a ‘David and Goliath‘ confrontation between the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the People’s Liberation Army (PLA).
Moreno cited China’s incursions into the West Philippines Sea (WPS), particularly in the country’s exclusive economic zones (EEZs), which has impoverished local fisher folk who have been victims of harassment by the Chinese coast guard and fishing militia vessels.
He added that as part of defending the WPS, he plans to pursue the continued modernization of the Philippine Navy (PN) and Philippine Coast Guard (PCG).
The presidential aspirant also touched on the Mutual Defense Treaty and Visiting Forces Agreement with the United States, which he said he plans to strengthen to augment the country’s security, especially with the threat of expansionist policies in Asia clearly shown by Beijing, which is now rapidly expanding its nuclear arsenal.
Domagoso clarified that he is not inclined to invite the US to reinstall military bases in the Philippines because this has to be thoroughly studied first before any decision is made, which should be certified with legislation.
SUBIC BAY FREEPORT, ZAMBALES — Manila’s chief executive visited the fisher folk in the town of Subic on Thursday and he disclosed that he would seriously assert The Hague ruling.
If it results in the refusal of Philippine claims by Beijing, he would back this up by building the country’s capacity to defend its waters in securing unimpeded access for small fisher folk to the abundant fishing grounds found within the WPS.
“We will be fearless in fighting for what is ours. We will insist The Hague ruling. But at the same time as being fearless, we are going to be fair with our discussion and management of the situation on both sides,” Domagoso told local fishermen during his visit which is part of his listening tour in Zambales.
The Manila mayor also revealed that he plans to intensify efforts in gaining trade treaties and agreements with regional neighbors in Southeast Asia, even with claimants to the West Philippine Sea and economic rivals of the US, as part of his administrative platform for the speedy recovery of the economy which has been gravely effected by the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
“Treaties will be recognized. Trade with America, Vietnam, China, and all other nations will continue because (the) WPS issue is far different from our economic issue in terms of trade.
“We’ll take that as an opportunity for us to gain: for the people to gain: for the country to gain.” (TRC/JuanManila)