MANILA - Partido Reporma standard bearer Sen. Panfilo Lacson on Thursday said he would utilize the Philippines' alliances with stronger nations to maintain a "balance of power" in the West Philippine Sea should he win the 2022 presidential race.
Australia and Canada are just some of the country's allies who have expressed willingness to help patrol maritime areas which are being claimed by China, Lacson said in the online edition of the "Pandesal Forum."
"Ang isang dapat approach dito yung ma-maintain 'yung balance of power, because 'yung bansa natin, maliit at saka militarily napakahina," Lacson, a former police general, said.
(One approach here should be maintaining the balance of power because we have a small country whose military is weak.)
"So dapat umasa tayo dun sa ibang bansa, malalakas militarily na may capability. 'Yung kanilang military capability pwedeng mag-match dun sa nangaagaw," he said.
(We should rely on other countries who have stronger military capability. Their military capability can match the power of those trying to grab our territory.)
If he wins the presidential race, Lacson said he would also use the Mutual Defense Treaty (MDT) to revive the country’s strong ties with its traditional ally, the United States.
"Para naman maipakita na hindi tayo push over lamang at mayroong mga bansa na malalaki at malalakas na willing tumulong sa atin," he said.
(We have to show that we are not push overs and that there are bigger and stronger countries who are willing to help us.)
In 2016, an international arbitral tribunal invalidated China's sweeping claims in the South China Sea, a resource-rich strategic waterway that includes the West Philippine Sea, the Philippines' exclusive economic zone.
President Rodrigo Duterte has shelved the ruling as he sought closer ties with Beijing as he pursued loans to fund his administration's billions-worth of an infrastructure push.