Duterte's policy can resolve maritime dispute, Roque claims

RG Cruz, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Sep 15 2016 02:17 AM

Kabayan party-list Rep. Harry Roque believes President Rodrigo Duterte declared an independent foreign policy separate from the United States to help resolve the impasse in the West Philippine Sea.

Roque on Wednesday claimed that the U.S. did not do anything when the Philippines lost Mischief Shoal and Scarborough Shoal. 

"That figured prominently during the oral arguments in the Supreme Court, the fact that the Americans cannot be relied upon in the Mutual Defense Treaty unless it affects their own national interest," he said.

China and the Philippines are locked in a bitter maritime dispute that reached a new high when the Manila won its arbitral case against Beining.

"The Americans will not fight our wars anyway for us so what is to be gained if you antagonize China?" Roque said. 

Roque is not worried that the Philippines will not suffer the fate of African countries who got lopsided deals from China. 

"I think the Chinese know they cannot apply the Chinese formula in the Philippines because we are more vigilant in protecting our national interest," he said. "It's a personal opinion. I have my differences with the president on extra legal killings but I support him 100% on foreign affairs."

House Minority Leader Danilo Suarez, however, disagreed. He said he is not in favor of creating sour relations between Manila and Washington.

Suarez also believes the Philippines can expect no support from the ASEAN when it comes to the enforcement of the arbitral court ruling on the West Philippine Sea.

He said many ASEAN countries did not want to take a stand on arbitration case.