Press Release
June 14, 2018

Drilon urges gov't to review appeasement policy towards China

Senate Minority Leader Franklin M. Drilon urged the Duterte administration to review its policy of appeasement on China, saying such a policy does not translate into better economic and trade relations with China.

"I think the government should review the policy of appeasement and accommodation on China," Drilon said in a news conference on Thursday.

The Philippines, under Duterte, has adopted a policy of appeasement on China in order that the Philippine economy can benefit from China's economic progress, he noted.

It is a different approach from the Vietnamese government, which has been very aggressive in asserting its rights over the South China Sea, he added.

However, records show that the Philippines is lagging behind Vietnam in terms of direct investment from China.

Citing records, Drilon said in terms of foreign direct investment coming from China in 2017, the Philippines got a measly US$ 31 million, while Chinese direct investment to Vietnam was at a whopping US$2.170 billion.

This is despite Vietnam's aggressiveness and confrontational approach towards China over the issue of South China Sea, Drilon stressed.

Philippines's FDIs from China is far below FDIs it received from Japan amounting to US$600 million and from the United States amounting to US$160 million in 2017, he added.

Drilon also expressed dismay at lower bilateral trade between the Philippines and China as compared with Vietnam and China. In 2017, bilateral trade between the Philippines and China was US$21.94 billion, while those of Vietnam and China was amounted to US$71.85 billion.

"Therefore, this indicates that the appeasement of China does not necessarily result in better economic relations with China," Drilon stressed.

"That indicates the non-connection between the policy of appeasement and economic benefits, as shown in Vietnam's policy of confrontation which yielded more positive results," he emphasized.

"There is empirical evidence that such appeasement does not necessarily result in better investment in our country. Here, it's not getting any better; it's getting worse," Drilon lamented, citing the landing of a Chinese military aircraft in Davao that sparked controversy.

"You have a Chinese military plane in Davao landing and the AFP (Armed Force of the Philippines) and the secretary of DND (Department of National Defense) not even knowing about it? Isn't that alarming? That is why we should be more assertive," Drilon said.

In terms of Chinese tourist arrival to the Philippines, it was recorded at 968,447 only in 2017. In contrast, the Chinese tourist arrival in Vietnam in 2017 was 4 million.

"I am citing Vietnam, because the policy of Vietnam in terms of its relation with China is a complete opposite of our foreign policy thrust. And yet, they have four times more Chinese tourists; they have received more investment from China than what went to the Philippines," he added.

The minority leader also supports calls to file a protest against Chinese coast guards who allegedly harassed Filipino fishermen. "This is more than just a bullying of our fishermen; this has implications on the recognized right of our country in that part of the South China Sea," Drilon said.

The senator also said he did not believe the claim made by Secretary of Foreign Affairs Alan Peter Cayetano that he has sent 100 protests against China, as he expressed support to growing calls for the secretary to bare them the public.

"What is wrong with informing our people with how our government is protecting our sovereignty? There's nothing wrong with that. The principle of transparency is enshrined in our Constitution," he said.

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