Press Release
February 5, 2018

Statement of Partido Liberal president Sen. Francis Pangilinan
On the seven Chinese military bases in the West Philippine Sea

What makes a country? Aside from the recognition of its neighbors, a country is defined by its territory and the people in that territory, and its ability to defend its territory and people. Thus, it is the government's sacred core duty to protect its territory in behalf of its people.

That's why we are deeply troubled that instead of expressing outrage, Malacañang displayed a nonchalant attitude in playing down China's militarization of the entire South China Sea, including the West Philippine Sea.

It disturbs every Filipino to hear the Malacañang spokesman relying on China's mere words that it would not reclaim new islands, thus, we can sleep soundly at night. It's like telling Filipinos not to worry because while China constructed a building, it would only stay on the ground floor.

Since 2013, China has engaged in unprecedented and ecologically devastating dredging and island-building at all seven of the features it occupies in the Spratly Island, creating nearly 1,300 hectares of land. How can we trust it to stop its aggression this time?

Because of the initiative of the last administration, the Philippines has secured an arbitral ruling favorable to us. Let's not make this a mere paper victory by giving China an easy ride through the current administration.

We, the people, demand that the government, at the very least, not stand idly by and instead protest these blatant violations of the Declaration of the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea and beef up the country's defenses in guarding what's left of our territory.

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