'Jetskidding': Makabayan bloc slams Duterte over West PH Sea campaign 'joke'

ABS-CBN News

Posted at May 13 2021 10:57 PM

'Jetskidding': Makabayan bloc slams Duterte over West PH Sea campaign 'joke' 1
An image of a sleeping President Rodrigo Duterte is used at a protest in front of the Chinese consulate on May 7, 2021 in Makati City. George Calvelo, ABS-CBN News/file

MANILA — The Makabayan bloc has slammed President Rodrigo Duterte for dismissing his statement during the 2016 election campaigns, where he promised to ride a jet ski and plant a flag in the West Philippine Sea. 

Duterte this week said his 2016 campaign promise in a bid to challenge Chinese aggression in the disputed area was a "pure joke" and that those who believed it were "stupid." 

Because of this, House lawmakers from Makabayan bloc said the President's pronouncement just spawned a new word: "jetskidding." 

"Mayroon daw bagong salita na nasama sa ating dictionary at ang salitang ito ay jetskidding sabi daw sabi mo magjejetski ka pero joke lang talaga," Bayan Muna Rep. Ferdinand Gaite said in a statement.

Gaite said the chief executive's recent statement meant that Duterte "gave up" the West Philippine Sea, the country's exclusive economic zone in the resource-rich and disputed South China Sea.

China lays expansive claims over the waters despite a July 2016 UN tribunal invalidating it.

“Practically isinuko na nga ni Pangulong Duterte ang kanyang sinumpaang tungkulin na protektahan ang teritoryo ng ating bansa.” 

Bayan Muna Rep. Eufemia Cullamat, meanwhile, said the development just showed how Duterte has no word of honor, likening him to a "clown." 

“Wala na ngang palabra de honor, mistulang payaso pa si Pangulong Duterte sa pagsasabing stupid ang naniniwala sa mga pinagsasabi nya. Seryoso ang tanong ng isang maliit na mangingisda na sinuklian ng kalokohang sagot," according to Cullamat. 

"Hindi kailanman biro ang kumakalaman na sikmura ng mamamayan. Hindi din biro ang di pagkibo sa pananakop ng mga dayuhan," she added. 

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Bayan Muna Rep. Carlos Zarate also scored the country’s officials for their conflicting statements, even as more Chinese militia continue to encroach on the country’s waters.

He added that Duterte's statements made the country look silly in front of the international community. 

As of May 9, 287 Chinese vessels were still in Philippine waters, of which, "bigger groupings" were spotted in Chinese-built artificial islands while some were observed near islands occupied by Manila, according to a government task force. 

 “Tunay pong naging katawa-tawa ang Pilipinas ngayon sa mata ng international community dahil kahit na ang mga opisyal ng Duterte administration ay hindi nagkakasundo sa kanilang tindig," the lawmaker pointed out. 

"Patuloy ang... condemnable na aksyon ng China sa ating mga karagatan gaya ng... pananatili ng maraming militia diyan... depriving our fisherfolks sa kanilang kabuhayan at naging dahilan ito para api-apihin sila sa loob mismo ng ating teritoryo or kahit man lang sa loob ng ating EEZ," he said. 

ACT Teachers Rep. France Castro, on the other hand, wants Malacañang to take back its previous pronouncement that the Julian Felipe reef is no longer part of the West Philippine Sea. 

She described this as a form of "misinformation" that must be corrected.

“Itong pahayag ni wpokesperson Harry Roque doon sa Julian Felipe na napakalayo daw at di sakop ito ng West Philippine Sea ay laking misinformation lalong lalo na sa Pilipino at dagok ito para sa mga Pilipinong naninindigan," the lawmaker said. 

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“Dapat bawiin ni Harry Roque itong pahayag na ito... Kung di kaya ipagtanggol ng ating gobyerno ang EEZ ang WPS ang ating soberanya ang mamayang Pilipino na ang makikipaglaban para dito.” Castro added.

A maritime law expert in the country disputed Roque's statement and warned it may be used to the disadvantage of the Philippines, while the Department of Foreign Affairs reiterated its earlier position that Julian Felipe Reef is within the Philippines' EEZ.

— With reports from RG Cruz, ABS-CBN News