- Published on Wednesday, 18 July 2012 00:00
- Written by DUCKY PAREDES
By A Web design Company
‘Why don’t we just adhere to bilateral talks with China on a one-on-one basis and see if that approach will work well for us.’
SENATOR Panfilo Lacson talks sense. Unlike others who seem bent on causing a war with the most powerful nation in our part of the world, Ping suggests talking to China, which, if things go as most learned observers predict, will soon become not only an Asian superpower but one that can challenge the United States for world supremacy.
Unlike others who seem unable to restrain themselves and would play politics by baiting China with accusations of perfidy and evil intentions, Senator Ping would rather talk directly to the Chinese. After all, we live in the same neighborhood at the Chinese. In fact, looking at the Fortune list of the Philippines billionaires, all but two or three have Chinese family names or family names derived from Chinese.
At a recent meeting of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean), we could not convince the body to come up with a joint communiqué for a code of conduct on the settling of disputes in the South China Sea, in the hope Asean could somehow compel China to adhere to regional peace and stability.
We found ourselves alone at that meeting, which was held in Cambodia and hosted by the Cambodians. This was the wrong place to talk about getting Asean to force China to do anything.
For decades now, Cambodia has had little dealing with any country but China, which continued to support its next door neighbor, which the rest of the world regarded as a pariah. Thus, we really had no chance trying to force China to do anything in a meeting hosted by a China client. As Senator Lacson sees it, the Philippines is left with only one option: Let’s talk to our powerful neighbor -- bilateral talks with Beijing that would explore economic cooperation. At the very least, this would lessen the tension brought about by the current standoff over ourterritorial dispute in the Scarborough Shoal.
That is certainly a better idea than accusing the Chinese of “duplicity” or of pushing our best ally – America – into going on war footing in our part of the world. We do not need a war. We do not want a war in our oceans, no matter how limited or benign (as if any war could ever be).
Lacson says that the country has better chances in engaging China to jointly explore resource-rich common borders rather than continue to be confrontational in dealing with Beijing over some contested territories.
“By all means, we have a chance. China’s attitude is they want bilateral, not multilateral (talks). If it is multilateral, there really will be nothing but trouble. Why don’t we just adhere to bilateral talks with China on a one-on-one basis and see if that approach will work well for us?”
The chairman of the Senate committee on defense and security (Lacson) seems to support the moves of businessman Manuel V. Pangilinan to tap a China-owned firm as partner of Philex Petroleum Corp. in undertaking oil exploration in uncontested territories in the West Philippine Sea off Palawan.
Pangilinan, chairman of Philex Petroleum Corp., earlier announced plans of entering into a partnership with a Chinese-owned oil exploration company saying it could help boost financial and technological support for the project while at the same time depoliticize the concession area.
Lacson further recommended that the government limit talks on the economic aspect in pursuing joint exploration ventures and set aside for the meantime the issue of sovereignty.
“Of course that is non-negotiable as far as we are concerned. We believe and we know that Panatag Shoal is ours but as a result of the intrusions and threats, it would be more prudent to explore cooperation and I think it will do us good rather than be confrontational in addressing the situation,” he said.
Lacson said invoking the country’s mutual defense treaty (MDT) with the US should be a last resort, if and when any of the Philippines’ is deemed under assault from any external threats.
As chairman of the Senate defense committee, the senator expressed belief that China would be more accommodating in a bilateral discussion on the issue of the Panatag Shoal rather than having a third party or other countries, especially the neighboring nations into the picture, especially that the Asean nations also have their own claims in the disputed area.
“In the meantime let us strengthen our economy by talking directly with China. I think they are reasonable enough to see the light. This has been their attitude ever since,” Lacson added.
The senator praised the decision of the government not to file a protest over a reported accidental incursion of a Chinese warship into the country’s territory last week.
“I think that’s a smart move to say the least,” he said.
A diplomatic solution will always be more practical approach in dealing with China than being confrontational and continue invoking national pride in terms of sovereignty which can only end up in an endless debate and heated exchanges with Chinese officials.
Things often turn for the worse whenever Philippine officials try to involve a third party like the US knowing full well its long-standing animosity with China, he said.
“Besides, the US cannot afford to antagonize China all the way.”
Mikey and Danny, my two youngest, are visiting. Thus, we took them (my grandsons Noah (10) and Micah (7) and Mikey’a wife Lehua) to Subic and Palawan. Our tourism people are correct – it is more fun in the Philippines.
Not having done any tours for some time, I was pleased with the experience. In Subic, we stayed at the Moon Bay Marina Suites which has a great swimming pool area and friendly staff. The boys went for adventure rides – zip lines and rides above the forest (Subic is one area that still has forests.) We also watched the show at Ocean Adventure featuring dolphins and sea lions.
Then, off to Palawan, where we booked at the Asturias Hotel, an older hotel but one that I like because the staff is friendly and helpful. We did the Honda Bay tour and the Underground River. Our assigned guide was Jessica, a communications graduate of the Palawan State University. She is an excellent tourist guide. The first day we did the Honda Bay tour. which was well-organized, thanks to Mayor Edward Hagedorn.
From boarding the bancas that took us to four swimming spots (with lunch at Pandan Island), the tour was beautifully organized. One beef: the toilets for females left much to be desired, Please fix this so the bay tour will be perfect,
Another great swim for my grandchildren was the one on a sandbar that they called lu-li beach (for lulubog-lilitaw.
Be a tourist in your own country to see how truly blessed we are in the Philippines.