- Last Wednesday, President Rodrigo Duterte met with former presidents Joseph Estrada, Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, and Benigno ‘Noynoy’ Aquino III to discuss the South China Sea dispute
- Duterte affirmed that he would observe the advice of the Philippine leaders
- The President has also given his blessing to Ramos, who was appointed as a special envoy to China to discuss the maritime dispute
On Thursday, President Rodrigo Duterte stated that he would heed the advice of former Philippine leaders on how to handle the issue over the South China Sea dispute.
During the national Security Council (NSC) meeting last Wednesday, President Duterte met with former presidents Joseph Estrada, Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, and Benigno ‘Noynoy’ Aquino III to discuss strategies for managing the maritime disputes with China.
Duterte said that he would take the advice of the elders and thanks Aquino for winning the case against China.
‘We take the advice of the elders. President Arroyo said 'caution.' President Estrada said 'restraint.' Si President Aquino, ganun naman (it is like this), but he won for us the case. So kaya ako nagsabi, 'Maraming salamat po for giving us the ace card. (And that’s why I thanked him for giving us the ace card)' It was he who filed. It was upon his instructions,’ Duterte said.
Duterte also trusts that Ramos, who was appointed as the special envoy to China over the maritime dispute, to best handle talks with China.
‘Let Ramos navigate,’ said Duterte.
Ramos also acquired the support of former secretary of the Department of Interior and Local Government Rafael Alunan.
‘Hayaan muna natin sila,’ said Duterte. ‘Then maybe, when the final talks are there tapos kaharap na kami, that would be the time na magpaprangkahan na tayo.’
(Let's just let them do what they want. Then maybe when the final talks are happening and we are face to face, that would be the time that we will be very straightforward to each other).
Last July 12, the UN Permanent Court of Arbitration ruled in favor of the Philippines, dismissing China’s claim over the ‘9-dash line’ and declaring that China has violated the Philippine’s rights in its exclusive economic zone.
While China rejected the verdict of the tribunal, they welcomed the Philippine’s special envoy.
While Duterte lauds the victory, the President reminds that the Philippines cannot go to war with China.
‘Hindi naman sinabing takot pero it is not the correct move. We do not go into a violence fight as a war now... It's simply not correct. We have to maintain the integrity of this Republic,’ Duterte said.
(I’m not saying that I am afraid, but it is not the correct move. We do not go into a violent fight. It’s simply not correct).
Therefore, the President encourages restraint because lives must be saved from war.
‘So ako, ano lang din because during my watch, medyo dahan-dahan lang ako diyan. I cannot be precipitate -- ah sige, daanin mo sa init ng ulo -- ah, patay na. Your life is not something that I can just throw away.’
(For me, because this is my watch, we must tread carefully. I cannot be precipitate, if we are hot headed, we will die. You life is not something that I can just throw away). - Kami Media