Tag: China

On the President’s Affirmation of the Philippines’ Arbitral Victory over China before the United Nations

‘Alipin’ no more! Hearing the President invoke the Award before the UN General Assembly while firmly rejecting any attempt to undermine it should now erase doubts on where he stands regarding the West Philippine Sea issue.

Filipinos from both sides of the political aisle should feel proud hearing the President express his strong and unequivocal position on the WPS issue. His statement should erase all doubts on where he stands.

More importantly, I hope that China heard the President’s message loud and clear.

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On DFA Sec. Locsin’s Plan to Recommend Terminating PH Govt Contracts with Chinese Firms in SCS Reclamation Activities

Screengrab: CNN Philippines Facebook page

Kudos to DFA Secretary Teddy Boy Locsin for putting the Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman in his place. Banning us from sending our military aircraft into airspace near Panatag Shoal surely deserves a strong rebuke. I’m proud that our top foreign policy implementor did it.

Indeed, it’s long in coming by way of a statement from our DFA secretary. China’s display of arrogance by accusing us of infringing on its sovereignty and security by sending military aircraft into airspace adjacent to Panatag Shoal/Bajo de Masinloc, urging the Philippines to immediately stop illegal provocations, tops it all.

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#PINGterview: Anti-Terror Law sa Korte Suprema; Pagtungo ni PRRD sa Zamboanga dahil sa Jolo Incident; Bayanihan 2

In an interview on DWIZ, Sen. Lacson answered questions on:
* Anti-Terror Bill to be questioned before the Supreme Court [10:01]
* goals of Senate inquiry into Jolo incident [34:24]
* PH warning vs China over military exercises [40:34]
* special session for Bayanihan 2 [42:39]

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On the President’s Change of Heart in Abrogating the VFA

First, just so it is clear where I’m coming from: I am not pro- or anti-American, as in actual fact, they took away my US visa a long time ago. Nor am I pro- or anti-Chinese since I have many friends in and out of Beijing.

That said, the President’s change of heart is a welcome development as far as defense and economic security of the country is concerned. The Philippines needs the Visiting Forces Agreement especially now that Chinese intrusions into our territory, particularly in the West Philippines Sea, have become commonplace.

The last thing that we should lose is the balance of power that the USA, among other allies like Australia and other ASEAN neighbors, can provide to suit our national interest and territorial integrity.

It is a no-brainer that we can’t stand on our own and protect ourselves from harassment coming from those intrusions.

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The Test of Intelligence Information

It is a test all right, not of the intelligence of the Filipino people but a test and a challenge as well to our intelligence community to verify what I said, a yet-to-be validated information provided by a reliable source who had given me some accurate intelligence reports in the past.

In intelligence parlance, this information may be classified β€˜A6’. Considering the implications, it is one piece of information still worth looking into.

When an issue that has serious implications – such as the reported presence of Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA) members in the Philippines – is raised, credible information is the best way to resolve it. This is without prejudice to Philippine authorities’ ongoing efforts to verify such information.

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#PINGterview: Lifting of Taiwan Travel Ban, Lt Col Espenido Issue, VFA Abrogation

In an interview on DWIZ, Sen. Lacson answered questions on:
– lifting of travel ban on Taiwan
– issues involving P/Lt. Col. Jovie Espenido
– possible actions after VFA abrogation
– franchise of ABS-CBN

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On the Philippines’ Travel Ban to Taiwan

Image courtesy: The Filipino Times

Just like the termination of the Visiting Forces Agreement, the Philippine government’s travel ban to Taiwan is a policy decision implemented by the executive department which may not necessarily be correct, health-wise and politically.

Politically, it seems that the China lobby has become a very powerful force under this administration. Only time will tell if this major shift in the country’s foreign policy will benefit our people in the medium and long term – even as in the immediate term, the travel ban may already have potentially dire consequences for our Filipino workers there.

We elected a President who does not appear to give much importance to counsels and consultations with sectors that could very well help him arrive at well-informed decisions. While I do not question his sincerity in trying to solve the problems besetting our country since the time the millennials of the world were not even born, I still hope he can leave his own legacy worth remembering.

Having said that, I continue to support his leadership but I will not stop calling him out on major decisions which I don’t think serve the best interest of our country and people.

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On a Post-VFA Philippines

The Filipino people are resilient and our soldiers are no different. We will survive, no doubt. We know how to improvise and we can adapt to crises the way we did many times before.

But in the meantime, we remain exposed to terrorist threats, both domestic and foreign, not to mention the continuing security threat in the West Philippine Sea posed by China, and even the need for timely humanitarian response and assistance that the US is capable of deploying during disasters, natural or man-made. Also affected by the VFA’s abrogation is the maintenance and repairs of military hardware, mostly air assets provided by the US under the AFP modernization program.

Exploring other options like inking similar defense treaties with other nations as posited by the AFP Chief of Staff is fine but the reality is, it doesn’t happen overnight. It will take a series of back-and-forth negotiations in pursuit of the concerned parties’ self and national interests before going through lengthy deliberations for ratification by the Senate.

While admittedly, the VFA is not perfect for the Philippines as far as equitability is concerned, the timing and reasons for its abrogation are way off the mark.

The thing is, it is not the smartest move of the President to expose ourselves naked first before looking for other options for cover.

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#PINGterview: Possible National Security Implications of Scrapping VFA | Jan. 27, 2020

In an interview with Senate media, Sen. Lacson answered questions on the possible implications on national security of scrapping the PH-US Visiting Forces Agreement.

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Sponsoring the 2020 Budget of the Department of National Defense

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Sen. Lacson sponsored the proposed PhP191,340,253,000Β budget of the Department of National Defense for 2020. The amount is about 4% of the 2020 budget. The key security strategy for 2018 indicated a minimum of 2% of the budget for the DND.

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