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OPINION | No to an inutile president

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IN his 4th State of the Nation Address on July 27, 2020, Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte publicly declared that he is “inutile against China’s aggression and invasion of Philippine territories.”

“You know, unless we are prepared to go to war, I would suggest that we better just call off and treat this as a diplomatic endeavor. China is claiming it, we are claiming it. China has the arms, we do not have it. So, it’s simple as that, they are in possession of the property," Duterte said.

“China is in possession. So what can we do? We have to go to war and I cannot afford it. Maybe some other president can but I cannot. I’m useless, I tell you, and I’m willing to admit it: I’m really useless in that part. I cannot do anything.”

The Filipino people are justifiably angry at Duterte’s weak and subservient attitude towards China. For all practical purposes, he is ceding the country’s vast territories to a greedy and bully occupier,  its valuable energy and marine resources where at least a third of the world’s maritime shipping passes through carrying around $3 trillion in trade every year. Every leader in the Southeast Asian region whose country is also being occupied by China is resisting against the occupiers,  and their people are proud of them. Japan, Vietnam, Indonesia and others are not allowing China to unlawfully appropriate their territories and patrimony.

We are in agreement though to President Duterte’s own admission that he is “inutile.” His Sino-centric policy after all, has led the economy in tatters, our military beset with crippling budget cuts, millions of Filipinos out of work and destitute. Plagued with hunger, rising living expenses, and daily news of government incompetence and corruption.

A victory rally is held Puerto Princesa City, Palawan, the Philippines following the U.N. Permanent Court of Arbitration’s ruling in favor of the Philippines against China’s nine-dash line claims in the West Philippine Sea. Contributed photo

Meanwhile the People’s Liberation Army of China is poised to take over Panatag Shoal, which is  Philippine territory, while Pag-Asa island and the surrounding cays are still under siege by the Chinese army which took it unlawfully by force and stealth even though the Philippines won against China’s nine-dash claim in the West Philippine Sea at the U.N. Arbitral Tribunal on July 12, 2016.  No other foreign aggression has surpassed such feat in recent memory.

We in the National Youth Movement for the West Philippine Sea, a group of patriots and willing defenders and protectors of our country, the Philippines,  are extremely dismayed with the President’s defeatist remarks as far as the West Philippine Sea is concerned. We firmly believe that we can and we should, as we have the duty under our Constitution, specifically the leaders of our country, to resist any attempt by China to unlawfully occupy our islands and territories in the West Philippine Sea especially when our patrimony and sovereignty are at stake.

We in the National Youth Movement for the West Philippine Sea call upon the leaders of our country and our fellow Filipinos to rally together to collectively resist China’s unlawful aggression in the West Philippine Sea and to always put the interests of the Philippines and its people above all else.

We in the National Youth Movement for the West Philippine Sea reject this seeming lack of decisive leadership and failure to preserve our sovereignty; and we call on our fellow Filipinos to assert their right to a leadership that safeguards our Constitution.

The writer is global chair and founder of the National Youth Movement for the West Philippine Sea.

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