MANILA - Senator JV Ejercito on Monday said China should show goodwill to the Philippines by giving up its claims in the disputed West Philippine Sea, following President Rodrigo Duterte's state visit to Beijing.
"As a sign of goodwill, it will be good if China gives up its claim on some of our territories, especially iyung malalapit sa atin," Ejercito said. "Isauli ang dapat isauli."
"If China wants to regain our trust, dapat i-give up claim nila in some of our territories. They have to respect the outcome of the arbitration," he said, citing a Hague tribunal unanimously ruling in favor of the Philippines in its maritime dispute against China.
Ejercito also favors a Senate inquiry on the foreign policy of the Duterte administration.
"We are also concerned of possible backlash of this shift of being an ally to China, but I'm glad the president clarified that we don't have to sever ties with U.S. but just pursue an independent foreign policy," he said.
Ejercito, however, believes that all the controversies involving Duterte are just part of "birth pains" of being the new president.
"We can expect in any new administration, there (are) always birth pains. Hopefully, as we move along, the administration will come up with more consistent policies especially with foreign relations," he said.
Ejercito will be part of Duterte's state visit to Japan this week. The senator wants assistance from the Japanese government and businessmen in building a modern and reliable railway system in the Philippines.