WE may, more or less, deduce from the statements coming from President Rodrigo Duterte, his Foreign Affairs Secretary Perfecto Yasay, and of late, ex-President Fidel V. Ramos, the direction, which, the Philippine Government wants to take in dealing with China in the aftermath of the favorable ruling by the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague.

China has spoken about its course of action.

It will not abide by the PCA decision.

Worse, China will negotiate only if the PCA ruling will not be given consideration.

President Duterte wants to balance its alliance with the USA and other countries and its desire to appease China in the midst of humiliating defeat.

He has not stated any details, whether the talks will involve the other claimant Asian nations or the United States.

The U.S. main interest is the free and uninterrupted passage of international cargo ships in the West Philippine Sea/South China Sea, as well as the growing militarization by China in its “manufactured” islands.

It also wants to protect Filipino fishermen from being bullied.

The PCA has ruled that the Chinese behavior in the contested sea was illegal.

Secretary Yasay has made inconsistent statements about sharing the resources even those within the exclusive jurisdiction of the Philippines as ruled by the PCA.

Associate Justice Antonio Carpio was quick to comment “why share what is exclusively yours?”

Perhaps, the Duterte boys should make consultations with those who made the Philippines win the arbitration case, including former DFA Secretary Albert del Rosario and Justice Carpio.

There is no harm to consult the U.S. State Department and get again renewed commitment that the U.S. will stand by the Philippines throughout the negotiations.

The Duterte doctrine should start from a position of strength because it is backed by the decision handed down by an international court sanctioned by the United Nations.

The Philippines could be magnanimous, but it should not appear spineless.


The Filipino people should demonstrate before China and before the world that they are backing fully the position of the Philippine Government as it goes to the negotiating table.

The US Pinoy Committee for Good Governance should continue to rally around the world for China to respect International Law and the PCA.

Otherwise, brand China as an outlaw nation.

At the same time, the Duterte team must send representatives to key cities of Europe, North America, Australia, Africa and South America to explain the reasons why the Philippines won the arbitration case and the post PCA ruling position of the Philippines vis-à-vis China.

With all the above put in place, the Philippines could face China in any table, and convince it to change its thinking and behavior in the West Philippine Sea in order to achieve peace, order and stability in the region.

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