MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI) believes private businesses in various countries should work together to come up with an economic solution to the row over the Spratly islands.
PCCI President Francis Chua said countries should lead the way in showing the possibility of forging an economic rather than a political solution before governments enter into any formal agreement.
The proposal comes in the wake of allegations that China has made military incursions into Philippine territorial waters.
But Chua believes that countries staking their claim on the contested islands are not inclined to engage in hostility.
“What we need to do is sit down and come up with an economic solution. It’s better that we jointly develop whatever resources and share the income or profit that could come out of it. Rather than fight in the media, that isn’t going to help at all. I don’t believe that anybody in ASEAN today will stake any hostile claim,” said Chua.
This week, President Benigno Aquino III and Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah of Brunei agreed to adopt a "multilateral dialogue" policy among claimant-countries in the Spratlys.
The Philippines, China, Brunei, Vietnam and Malaysia are staking a claim on Spratlys in whole or in part. -- Report from ANC