MANILA - Chief Justice Lucas Bersamin on Wednesday urged Filipinos to refrain from relying on foreign help to solve the country's problems, as the Philippines marked the 121st anniversary of its independence from foreign colonizers.
"Lagi natin tatandaan na nakamit natin ang kalayaan at kasarinlan bilang isang bansa sa pagdanak ng dugo ng ating mga bayaning ninuno… Huwag nating balewalain ang kanilang sukdulang pagpapakasakit," he said at the Independence Day celebration at the Bonifacio Shrine in Caloocan City.
"Huwag natin ugaliing umasa sa mga dayuhan sa paglutas sa ating mga hamon at pagsubok," added the top judge.
(Let's always remember that we achieved freedom and independence as a country through the blood shed by our heroes. Let's not set aside their sacrifice. Let's refrain from relying on foreigners to solve the challenges we face.)
Bersamin later clarified that he was not referring to aid from any country in particular.
"Walang ibang makakatapos ng ating mga problemang hinaharap kundi tayo rin. Kung may tumulong na tagalabas ng bansa, welcome, basta walang kundisyon. That's all I wanted to bring across," he said.
(There's no one else who can end the problems we face but us. If other countries help, that would be welcome, as long as there are no conditions.)
Bersamin's colleague, Supreme Court Associate Justice Antonio Carpio, earlier warned about the Philippines' $62-million loan for the Chico River irrigation project from Beijing, saying it could seize Manila's gas reserves off South China Sea if the country fails to pay it back.
Activists on Wednesday trooped to the Chinese Consulate in Makati City to protest against the loans and Beijing's supposed incursions into the Philippines' maritime territory.
-- With a report from Johnson Manabat, ABS-CBN News