MANILA - Congressmen want clarity on the agreements signed by China and the Philippines during President Rodrigo Duterte's visit to Beijing last week.
Party-list COOP NATCCO Rep. Anthony Bravo said, "As far as I'm concerned, magandang tingnan ito, kasi its $24-B proposed investment kung anong detalye 'yun ang makita natin, medyo baon na rin tayo sa utang. Tingnan natin ano detalye at saan papunta ang investment na ito."
(As far as I'm concerned, it's good to look at. It's a $24 billion proposed investment. But we need to look into the details as we are heavily in debt. Let's look into the details and see where this investment is headed.)
Party-list AANGAT TAYO Rep. Harlin Neil III J. Abayon, however, reminded everyone that the House cannot legally review the agreements as it is the job of the Senate.
Bravo pointed out there is still no final word on whether Filipinos will be allowed to fish in Scarborough Shoal. The arbitral tribunal upheld the historic fishing rights of Filipinos in the shoal but emphasized this is shared with China.
"It remains to be seen, titingnan ba talaga natin kung patungo ba talaga sa mas magandang relasyon," he said.
(It remains to be seen. We will see if this will result in better relations with China.)
Abayon emphasized government cannot just force China out. "Pag in-oust ang China, baka bigla tayo bombahin. Mahirap na lang po 'yung awayin natin bigla."
(If we oust China, they might bomb us. We cannot just antagonize China.)
Party-list ACTS OFW Rep. Aniceto "John" D. Bertiz III, for his part, zeroed in on the plight of the undocumented Filipino workers in China.
"Yung concern kasi ng sektor namin is yung legalizations muna ng agreement between China and the Philippines, kasi hanggang ngayon yung mga nagtatrabaho majority of them 200,000, puro undocumented," Bertiz said.
(The concern of our sector is the plight of the undocumented workers in China. Majority of the undocumented 200,000 workers were undocumented.)
Bertiz emphasized many Filipino workers in China are undocumented. "That's our record, 200,000 plus undocumented, household workers, tutors private teachers."
Bravo reiterated that as it stands, the benefits from the trip have yet to be seen.
It's a view shared by Buhay Party List Rep. Mariano Michael Velarde. "Hindi pa natin talaga mabibigyan ng magandang interpretasyon dahil wala pang talagang solido na programa na sinasabi ang ating pangulo."
(We have yet to see solid programs that will come out from the state visit.)