Kagitingan Reef (left), Secretary Teddyboy Locsin (right) Photos: Wikimedia.com & Facebook.com
recent article in the Philippine Daily Inquirer caused us to do a double-take when we read that Foreign Affairs Secretary Teddyboy Locsin Jr. intended to protest Communist China’s establishment of a maritime rescue center on Kagitingan (Fiery Cross) Reef in the West Philippine Sea (WPS). Kagitingan lies halfway between the Philippines and Vietnam and is claimed by both countries as well as Taiwan and the People’s Republic of China (PRC).
Locsin stated via Twitter that he “preferred engaging them [the Chinese] openly on the floor of the UN General Assembly.” Supreme Court Justice Antonio Carpio, a staunch critic of the PRC’s claims in the WPS has long been pushing the Duterte administration to take a firmer stand towards China, to no avail.
Now Locsin appears to be showing some gumption by saying that he’ll engage the Chinese on the floor of the UN no less. Well, let’s see if this is nothing but bluster talk. And did the good secretary run this plan by his boss in Malacaang? If we hear nothing about this issue in the coming days or weeks, we can all safely assume that President Rodrigo Duterte struck it down—how dare anyone in his cabinet impugn the noble reputation of his Chinese overlords.
Since coming into office Duterte, appears to have gone out of his way to ingratiate himself with Beijing. His critics point out that Duterte appears to have made himself “bootlicker-in-chief” to Chinese President Xi Jin Ping. Unfortunately for our president, all that fawning has remained unrequited so far as billions in promised aid and investment have still not materialized.
Locsin’s plan to engage the Chinese on the floor of the UN might be just what’s needed to shake us out of our complacency, and make us stand up for our rights. Then he can look his Chinese counterpart in the eye and tell him, Filipinos will not be pushed around anymore.</span> Published 2/4/2019