Akbayan partylist Rep. Tom Villarin warned the Duterte administration from “selling out” Philippine sovereignty in exchange for promises of investments.
Villarin said President Rodrigo Duterte should first focus on asserting the decision of the Permanent Court of Arbitration on the West Philippine Sea.
“A joint exploration with China while skipping around the issue of how to resolve Chinese incursion into the West Philippine Sea is tantamount to giving up our sovereign claims,” Villarin.
“Winning our case at the UN Arbitral Tribunal and asserting it will fulfill the constitutional mandate of having an independent foreign policy. But asking permission from China so we can fish on our own waters degrades our status as a sovereign nation and will subject us to international ridicule,” he added.
“At this critical juncture when continuing Chinese aggression has compromised our territorial integrity, specifically in Panatag Shoal, any large-scale investment deal with China will be seen as a sellout move,” he said.
“Such reported deal brings back memories of the aborted NBN-ZTE scandal which reeked of corruption right from the start and the Northrail project for which the Philippines overpaid the Chinese contractor for unfinished work,” he added.
“President Duterte should be forthcoming and transparent in explaining what other commitments were put on the table during his China visit. It’s nothing less than his duty and obligation to the Filipino nation,” said Villarin.