PH should tap allies amid China threats, lawmaker says

Trishia Billones, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Mar 15 2017 09:20 PM

MANILA - The Philippines may not match China's military muscle but it may tap into agreements with allies, according to a lawmaker.

Muntinlipa Rep. Ruffy Biazon said it's "far-fetched to even dream of competing with China militarily," but getting help from allies is an option the Philippines can pursue.

"We can use that because we really cannot match China tit-for-tat militarily; we can make use of allies. We have current agreements with these allies," he said.

Biazon said there is a "battle between two powers" China and the United States. "We have the opportunity to use the United States against the threat of China."

He also urged the government to boost its defense capabilities in its eastern seaboard where the Benham Rise is located. 

Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana earlier expressed concern over Chinese ships' presence within the vicinity of the aforementioned underwater plateau in the Pacific Ocean, but President Rodrigo Duterte said he was "advised way ahead" before Chinese research vessels sailed over the area.

"We can invest more in our national coast-watch system because our national coast watch system now basically just covers the West Philippine Sea. It’s about time that we invest and put receivers and surveillance equipment on our eastern seaboard," said Biazon.

"We don’t have to match them militarily. We should just basically develop the capability to monitor the area, conduct patrols, or even interceptions if needed," he added.

He said the country would have to pull out some of its resources from other areas to augment the forces in the eastern seaboard.

"We should be looking at investing in the defense of what was already granted to us," he said.