Press Release
June 11, 2021

Hontiveros: Gov't needs foreign policy that benefits the PH, not China

Senator Risa Hontiveros on Friday said the government should enforce foreign policy that benefits the Philippines, not China.

The statement comes after former Senator Juan Ponce Enrile said that President Duterte's current foreign policy is the "best, practical, and realistic we can have to serve and protect our national interest."

"How has likening our 2016 Hague victory to a piece of trash served our national interest? How has calling China a best friend helped our country? The pivot to China has not resulted in resplendent gains for Filipinos. The administration's pro-Beijing foreign policy has not reduced China's aggression against the Philippines. Mas lalo lang nga lumakas ang loob ng Tsina na mambully kasi mukhang garantisado siyang hindi buong titindig ang liderato ng Pilipinas," Hontiveros said.

Hontiveros said she also takes exception to Enrile's statement that China is a strong country and the Philippines is weak; therefore, "the strong do what they can, and the weak suffer what they must."

"If that's the mentality, then we would still be under Spain; we would not be celebrating our independence. That the weak must only submit to the strong is an antiquated belief that has long been disproven. Modern nations stood on ideals that birthed the vital concept of national sovereignty, which is thus enshrined in our Constitution," Hontiveros said.

Additionally, the senator said that the administration's current foreign policy vis-a-vis China has weakened our country not only in terms of state sovereignty, but also in our pursuit of economic development. She said the incessant actions of Chinese vessels in the West Philippine Sea have cost the Philippines over P800 billion worth of marine life and resources, an amount that the country should charge to China.

"China has destroyed billions worth of resources in our own waters. That money could be used to jumpstart our economy as we recover from the severe long-term effects of the pandemic. Kung naging mas assertive tayo sa pagdepensa sa ating mga teritoryo, baka hindi umabot sa ganito. Ang mga nasira nilang likas-yaman, mga nawalang tirahan ng mga isda ay hindi na maibabalik. The least China can do now is pay," Hontiveros said.

Hontiveros then emphasized that the wealth of gas and oil in Recto Bank should drive our government to safeguard our territories, especially since former Gem-Ver captain Junel Insigne recently shared with the media that there have been more Chinese ships fishing in Recto Bank. Insigne also said that the presence of China's vessels has affected their catch on recent trips.

"Ang realidad ay nawawalan ng huli ang ating mga mangingisda at patuloy na winawasak ang mga likas yaman ng Pilipinas. Ang tunay na 'best, practical, at realistic' na foreign policy ay ang isang polisiya na makakaprotekta sa kabuhayan ng mga Pilipino at sa yaman ng ating bansa. It is in our national interest to defend our citizens and our resources. A policy of appeasement and accommodation is not a realistic foreign policy, it is an injudicious one," Hontiveros said.

"As we celebrate the Philippines' Independence Day, I hope that our people, moreso our own present and former government officials, retire the notion that the Philippines is a weak country, and therefore, should just let China be. Hindi tayo bansa ng mga duwag. Hindi lumaban ang ating mga ninuno para lang ipamigay natin ang ating dignidad, karapatan, at kalayaan," Hontiveros concluded.

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