CLARK FREEPORT – Amid rising tensions at the West Philippine Sea, Sen. Richard Gordon said yesterday “the country should be prepared for all possibilities that may develop.”
In statement, Gordon cited the “need for the National Security Council to meet regularly and assess the possibilities, along with a think-tank composed of experts on foreign policy and defense.”
Last Monday, Pres. Duterte challenged the United States to keep China off the disputed areas of South China Sea by deploying its Seventh Fleet there.
“That’s why I have a proposal,” the President, speaking partly in Filipino, told reporters in Malacañang. “If America really wants to drive away China, which I can’t do, I’ll ask for its help. I want the whole of the Seventh Fleet of the Armed Forces of the United States there.”
Gordon said “We have to think of all the possibilities in a situation where there is always claims and counter-claims. All these scenarios must be assessed by the National Security Council and a think-tank composed of experts on foreign policy and defense.”
“Alam naman natin na there is always contention in that area, kaya dapat nakahanda tayo kung ano ang mangyayari diyan,” he added.
Gordon’s pronouncement was also prompted by the incident last June 9 wherein a Chinese fishing vessel abandoned the crew of a Filipino fishing boat that sank after it was rammed by their vessel near Recto Bank.
Gordon described as arrogance “China’s attitude of not caring for laws that back up the Philippines’ claims over the West Philippine Sea.”
“The law is all on our side. Lahat – Exclusive Economic Zone, Constitution, Arbitral ruling, the UNCLOS, they are all on our side. But China doesn’t care. They are arrogant. Nagugulat nga ako ngayon ko lang nakita ang China na ganyan. I thought I was a friend of China, pero makikita ko ngayon arogante kayo. Because it’s the South China Sea, amin iyan, wala kayong pakialam diyan. Hindi pwede iyon,” Gordon said.
“Sinasabi ko sa Chinese, we have been friends since kopong-kopong pa, wala pa iyong Kastila rito. Bakit kayo gumagawa ng ganyan? Are you really our friend? Tinutulak-tulak niyo kami. Binabangga niyo kami,” he added.
Gordon also noted that if China lives in a world order of civility, they will take responsibility by giving the names of their ship crew and let the Philippines investigate them.
“Hindi mo ba pwede sabihin, magpapadala kami ng danyos perwisyos, papalitan namin yung boat, at itong mga taong ito, I can assure you papakita ko ang pangalan, lilitisin namin iyan bago namin sintensyahan. Kung kapitbahay ka, pagbigyan mo naman ako dahil ang mga tao ko gusto rin ng hustisya, sabihin mo na kung ano ang nangyari. Sobra kayo. Kung halimbawa magkagulo, eh kung may namatay doon, nagkaroon ng riots dito? Gulo iyan. In Indonesia they had Chinese riots,” he added.