MANILA – Vice President Jejomar Binay said the Philippines will stay the course for good government and inclusive development for peace and progress.
"The future of mankind lies not in conflict or war, but in dialogue, cooperation, and peace," he said in a keynote speech during the Banyan Tree Leadership Forum held in Washington D.C. Thursday afternoon (early Friday Philippine time).
In tackling the current row with China over the West Philippine Sea, Binay said the country is pursuing a solution by going for arbitration as provided for by the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea or UNCLOS.
"We seek to gain understanding of this by using such regional forum as the Asean Regional Forum," Binay said.
The vice president said the country and its partners, including the United States, will continue with discussions on the issue.
Meanwhile, Binay said Philippine trade with China continues to rise. China, he said, is the country’s largest trading partner, a position previously held by US and Japan.
Trade, he said, is not the only tie that binds both countries. He said Filipinos with Chinese ancestry are part of the country’s population, with some even serving government and Congress.
"They are part of the country’s governing lead," he said.
Among other issues raised by Binay during the forum is the country’s economic growth. He said the Philippines must make sure economic gains are felt by the people, even as he stressed inclusion and diversification.
He also said that the country is Asia's best economic performer, but mentioned that the "situation on the ground has not changed" and that there still exists unemployment and poverty.
He added: "I will facilitate environment and governance, but you must pay your taxes."
He also said his bias as a political leader has always been toward the poor.
Meanwhile, Binay entertained questions after he concluded his speech, which was facilitated by Ernest Bower, Senior Adviser and Sumitro Chair for Southeast Asia Studies of the Center for Strategic and International Studies.
He was asked if the current administration is considering using nuclear power or energy to improve the country’s economic conditions.
"In light of what happened in Japan, we have to be careful, study if we want to venture into nuclear power. But not at the moment, I suppose," Binay said.
He said the Philippines has a lot of natural resources that it can use.