MANILA, Philippines—Former senator Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr., who is inclined to run for a national post in the 2022 elections, on Friday (Sept. 24) parroted President Rodrigo Duterte’s line on Chinese aggression in the West Philippine Sea, saying the Philippines can’t afford to go to war with the Asian giant.
At an online news forum, the son of the late dictator Ferdinand Marcos said the Philippines will lose in no time should war break out.
“‘Yung policy of engagement na ginagawa ng Duterte government, although it is criticized, it is the right way to go. Dahil kahit anong gawin natin, hindi naman natin pwede gyerahin,” he said.
(The policy of engagement which the Duterte government is implementing, although it is criticized, it is the right way to go. Because whatever we do, we can’t go to war.)
“May nagsasabi bumili tayo ng patrol boats, ‘yung mga jets, para kung sakali mapalaban tayo. Bakit natin iisipin ‘yun kung mapalaban tayo, tapos ang gyerang ‘yan wala pang isang linggo tapos na yan. Talo na tayo, wag na natin isipin ‘yun,” he added.
(There are those who say we buy patrol boats, then the jets, just in case we get to fight. Why would we think we will fight? Then that war will be over in less than a week. We’re defeated already, let’s not think that way.)
He said that in a territorial conflict, going to war is one of the options “to acquire a new territory.”
“Ayaw naman natin gawin ‘yun. I don’t think the Chinese want to go to war with us. Certainly, we don’t want to go to war with China,” he added.
(We don’t want to do that, I don’t think the Chinese want to go to war with us. Certainly, we don’t want to go to war with China.)
Marcos said the Philippines should explore “different levels” in dealing with China, adding that Filipino fishermen should be able to fish freely.
Duterte has been criticized for his policy on the West Philippine Sea and for setting aside the international tribunal’s 2016 ruling that rejected China’s fictitious claims of “historic rights” in the South China Sea.
Duterte has repeatedly said the Philippines can’t afford to go to war with China to enforce sovereignty, a line that West Philippine Sea experts debunked as mere scare tactic.
Former Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario and Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio, two officials who led the Philippines’ maritime case against China, had said the Philippines need not go to war to assert sovereignty and the war option being repeatedly mentioned by Duterte was just meant to intimidate Filipinos to bow to China’s wishes.
Marcos, at the same forum, wrongly called the arbitral tribunal in The Hague, which ruled in favor of the Philippines against China, as the ICC (International Criminal Court).
The ICC recently announced that it will investigate Duterte’s war on drugs.
Marcos said the Philippines and China dealt with issues on the West Philippine Sea bilaterally “up until 2010 when we filed a case at the ICC.” The Philippines filed a case during the Aquino administration in 2013 at the arbitral tribunal based in The Hague months after China seized and took control of Scarborough Shoal.
“Ang pag solusyon sa territorial conflict, naaayos lang ‘yan sa ICC. Pero kailangan sumang-ayon ang parehong bansa para maayos ang problema,” Marcos said.
(Solving territorial conflict is fixed only in the ICC. But both nations should agree to solve the problem)
“Pero ang China, hindi naman signatory sa ICC, sa pagtaguyod ng ICC. Pangalawa, sinabi na nila mula sa umpisa, hindi naman kinikikilala ‘yung mga desisyon sa ICC, so wala na tayo ‘dun,” he said.
(But China is not a signatory to the ICC, in the auspices of the ICC. Second, they said at the start that they don’t recognize the ICC decision, so we have nothing there)
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