Tag: West Philippine Sea

On the ‘Restoration’ of the RP-US VFA

Image courtesy: Wikipedia

I fully support the President’s decision in changing his earlier stand to terminate the Visiting Forces Agreement. Whatever underlying conditions there are in arriving at that decision, if it was connected to additional vaccine donations or any other reasons, I’m sure President Rodrigo Duterte was influenced by the interest of the country and our people.

That being said, the termination of the VFA would have done our country’s security situation more harm than good, especially at this time when incursions into our exclusive economic zone in the West Philippine Sea have become more aggressive and unabated.

This is not to mention the continuing threats of terrorism in our country.

We have to accept the reality that we cannot do it alone, and our bilateral agreements with countries having more upgraded militarily capabilities like the United States and even Australia should be put into good use. The VFA is one way to do this.

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Ping: Pilipinas, Dapat Mas Magpursigi Para Ganap na Maipanalo ang WPS

Image: CTTO

Limang taon matapos na maipanalo ang karapatan sa West Philippine Sea (WPS) sa Permanent Court of Arbitration sa The Hague, kailangan ng Pilipinas na lalo pang diinan ang pakikipaglaban nito para maging ganap ang tagumpay sa pag-angkin sa naturang lugar.

Ipinahayag ito ni Senador Panfilo Lacson, chairman ng Senate Committee on National Defense and Security, Peace, Unification and Reconciliation, kasabay ng pagsasabing malaki pa ang kailangang gawin ng Pilipinas dahil patuloy pa rin ang presensiya ng Tsina sa lugar.

“Whatever we have done, or have failed to do, and what we must continue to pursue as part of our prerogatives as a law-abiding, democratic, and sovereign nation under this administration – unfortunately – has accrued little to our ‘accumulated advantage’ in the South China Sea and in the context of Philippine-China relations. On the contrary, we may have done very little in stemming the tide of an increasing Chinese footprint into the ASEAN region’s foreign policy, economy, and security,” paliwanag ng mambabatas.

“Thus, let us see this day for what it truly is: Commemorating a hard-won battle, but a victory still incomplete. We must, therefore, press on to complete the victory,” dagdag ni Lacson.

Read in ENGLISH: Lacson: PH Must Push On to Complete the Victory in WPS
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Lacson: PH Must Push On to Complete the Victory in WPS

Image: CTTO

Five years after its triumph over China in the West Philippine Sea before the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague, the Philippines must continue pushing to complete the victory, Sen. Panfilo M. Lacson said Monday.

Lacson, who chairs the Senate Committee on National Defense and Security, Peace, Unification and Reconciliation, said much remains to be done amid China’s increasing presence in the Southeast Asian region.

“Whatever we have done, or have failed to do, and what we must continue to pursue as part of our prerogatives as a law-abiding, democratic, and sovereign nation under this administration – unfortunately – has accrued little to our ‘accumulated advantage’ in the South China Sea and in the context of Philippine-China relations. On the contrary, we may have done very little in stemming the tide of an increasing Chinese footprint into the ASEAN region’s foreign policy, economy, and security,” Lacson said.

“Thus, let us see this day for what it truly is: Commemorating a hard-won battle, but a victory still incomplete. We must, therefore, press on to complete the victory,” he added.

Basahin sa TAGALOG: Ping: Pilipinas, Dapat Mas Magpursigi Para Ganap na Maipanalo ang WPS
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Mga Inaasahan sa Huling SONA ni Pangulong Duterte, Isiniwalat ni Ping

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Ano ang kalagayan ng programa ng gobyerno sa pagbabakuna laban sa COVID-19, at ang pakikipaglaban sa katiwalian? Mas bumuti ba ang buhay natin ngayon mula nang mag-umpisa ang administrasyon ni Pangulong Rodrigo Duterte noong 2016? Ano pa ang puwede niyang gawin sa nalalabing panahon ng kanyang termino?

Ilan ito sa mga katanungan ni Senador Panfilo Lacson na inaasahan niyang masasagot ng Pangulo sa panghuling State of the Nation Address (SONA) nito sa Hulyo 26.

“After five years, where are we now, or what is the situation in the many aspects of his administration such as peace and order, fight against illegal drugs, corruption, economy, and foreign policy, particularly the West Philippine Sea? We want to hear what happened in the last five years – and moving forward for the last year of his administration, what can still be done?” banggit ni Lacson sa isang media forum nitong Linggo.

Sa kanyang mga katanungan ay binigyang diin ng mambabatas ang programa sa pagbabakuna.

“But it is critical to update us on the government’s response to the pandemic. This includes the status of the government’s vaccination program. This is important because many Filipinos still do not trust the vaccine. In the meantime, the government must continue its campaign to gain the people’s trust in vaccines, based on science,” ayon pa sa mambabatas.

Read in ENGLISH: Lacson Bares Expectations from President Duterte’s Final SONA
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Lacson Bares Expectations from President Duterte’s Final SONA

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What is the status of the government’s vaccination program, and its fight against corruption? Are we better off than when President Rodrigo Duterte started his term in 2016? What can be done in the last year of his term?

These are among the questions that Sen. Panfilo M. Lacson hopes the President will address in his final State of the Nation Address (SONA) this July.

“After five years, where are we now, or what is the situation in the many aspects of his administration such as peace and order, fight against illegal drugs, corruption, economy, and foreign policy, particularly the West Philippine Sea? We want to hear what happened in the last five years – and moving forward for the last year of his administration, what can still be done?” Lacson said at a media forum in Manila on Sunday.

“But it is critical to update us on the government’s response to the pandemic. This includes the status of the government’s vaccination program. This is important because many Filipinos still do not trust the vaccine. In the meantime, the government must continue its campaign to gain the people’s trust in vaccines, based on science,” he added.

Basahin sa TAGALOG: Mga Inaasahan sa Huling SONA ni Pangulong Duterte, Isiniwalat ni Ping
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On the Challenges Facing a Leader

Sailing into the sea is the easiest decision to make. Not knowing how rough the water is the dangerous part. Measuring one’s skills in steering the boat is a big responsibility especially when people’s lives depend on it. Best to think long and hard. It is not a game or a joke.

This applies to everyone, actually. Consider the following:

* Outstanding national debt of P10.774 trillion as of March 2021, ballooning to P10.991 trillion as of April 2021

* 3.44 million Filipinos out of jobs as of March 2021

* Shortfall in revenue collections, with revenues at P2.84 trillion already including non-tax revenues like dividends, fees, etc., compared to the original target of P3.25 trillion, based on the Development Budget Coordination Committee’s 2019 projections for the 2020 General Appropriations Act.

Then there’s the continued uncertainty of the pandemic situation in the country and the whole world, not to mention a whole lot of other problems that will confront the next administration like the West Philippine Sea, illegal drugs, corruption and even issues surrounding the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao, and God knows what else.

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On Former Senate President Enrile’s Inputs on the WPS Issue

I agree with former Senate President Enrile: We should not abandon whatever dealings or negotiations with China are underway or in the pipeline as we speak. Diplomacy should be our first, if not best, option.

But neither should we disregard other options available, not only to finally resolve the West Philippine Sea issue but to provide the balance of power in the Indo-Pacific region.

As I have repeatedly suggested, we should build stronger alliances with other militarily powerful and capable countries who may be willing to help our cause as it would also advance their own national interests if they maintain their presence alongside our naval assets in the vicinity of the WPS.

That said, it bears repeating that the initiative should come from a united Filipino people with a united standnot the continued bickering that only the Chinese government will applaud.

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Ping, May Mungkahing Solusyon sa Chinese Vessels sa WPS

Dahil hindi na nakakagulat ang muling pagkumpulan ng mga Chinese maritime militia vessel sa bahagi ng West Philippine Sea, dapat nang mag-isip ng kagyat at epektibong paraan ang mga awtoridad upang maitaboy ang mga ito, ayon kay Senador Panfilo Lacson.

Isa sa mga hakbang na nakikita ni Lacson bilang solusyon ay ang paggamit ng parliamentary-to-parliamentary channels o pag-uusap ng mga Kongreso ng mga bansang magkakaalyado, upang matiyak ang balance of power sa rehiyon.

“We are not really surprised. In a way, we even anticipated the return of the Chinese vessels because the vessels that were in the area earlier were most likely just surveying. Their job was to scout the land and not yet occupy. Ngayon nagbalikan na,” pahayag ni Lacson, chairman ng Senate committee on national defense, sa panayam ng DZBB.

Related: Lacson: ‘Return’ of Chinese Maritime Militia Vessels in WPS an Urgent Wake-Up Call
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Lacson: ‘Return’ of Chinese Maritime Militia Vessels in WPS an Urgent Wake-Up Call

The reported “return” of Chinese maritime militia vessels in the West Philippine Sea should be an urgent wake-up call for Filipinos to unite and come up with one strong stand on the issue, Sen. Panfilo M. Lacson stressed Thursday.

Lacson also said it is time to explore further possibilities, including using parliamentary-to-parliamentary channels, to ensure a balance of power in the region.

“We are not really surprised. In a way, we even anticipated the return of the Chinese vessels because the vessels that were in the area earlier were most likely just surveying. Their job was to scout the land and not yet occupy. Ngayon nagbalikan na (Now they’re back),” he said in an interview on DZBB radio.

Related: Ping, May Mungkahing Solusyon sa Chinese Vessels sa WPS
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Ping: Malaking Problema Kung Biro at Pagsiseryoso ng Pangulo, ‘di na Matukoy

Hindi nakakatuwa ang “pagbibiro” ng Pangulong Rodrigo Duterte para sa mamamayang Pilipino, lalo na sa mahalagang isyu tulad ng teritoryo natin sa West Philippine Sea.

Ito ang naging tugon ni Senador Panfilo Lacson sa pagsasalita ng Pangulo sa publiko nitong Lunes ng gabi, kung saan ay sinabi nitong nagbibiro lamang siya nang sabihin noong 2016 na siya ay magdi-jetski patungo sa Spratlys.

“It’s very hard to read his mind. He may be sending mixed signals such that we don’t know if he’s serious or joking. His spokesperson would say he is joking, but there are times he seems serious in his statements. We don’t know anymore. We have a very big problem in our hands,” banggit ni Lacson sa panayam ng ANC.

Related: Lacson: President’s ‘Joking’ Statements No Laughing Matter
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