“Paolo Duterte Defends VP’s Silence on China Issue: Calls for Prioritizing Sovereignty”

Davao City 1st District Rep. Paolo Duterte
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In response to the controversy surrounding Vice President Sara Duterte’s alleged silence on the Chinese water cannon attack, Davao City Representative Paolo Duterte has stepped forward to defend his sister. In a statement issued on Wednesday, Representative Duterte shifted the focus away from his sister and directed it towards the Secretary of National Defense and the Secretary of Foreign Affairs, whom he referred to as the “chief architects of foreign policy.”
Representative Duterte argued that the responsibility for addressing the actions of Chinese vessels in the West Philippine Sea lies with these officials, rather than with the Vice President or the Secretary of the Department of Education. He emphasized that it is not the role of the Vice President or the Secretary of Education to demonize China or any other country. By doing so, he sought to clarify that their responsibilities lie elsewhere and that they should not be held accountable for matters of foreign policy.
However, the political party Akbayan expressed bewilderment over Vice President Duterte’s alleged silence on the issue. The party’s president, Rafaela David, criticized her for finding time to defend Pastor Apollo Quiboloy but remaining silent when Filipino citizens are under attack by a foreign aggressor. David stated that the Filipino people need real leaders who prioritize defending their sovereignty rather than seeking refuge in silence.
The incident has not gone unnoticed by the Department of Foreign Affairs, which has taken action by summoning the Charge d’Affaires of the Chinese Embassy. The purpose of this summoning was to convey the Philippines’ strong protest against the aggressive actions undertaken by the China Coast Guard and the Chinese Maritime Militia against the rotation and resupply mission conducted by the Philippines.
This latest controversy highlights the ongoing tensions in the West Philippine Sea and the differing opinions on how to address them. While some argue that the Vice President should take a stronger stance against China’s actions, others, like Representative Duterte, believe that the responsibility lies with the officials directly responsible for foreign policy decisions. As the situation continues to unfold, it remains to be seen how these differing viewpoints will be reconciled and what actions will be taken to protect Philippine sovereignty in the West Philippine Sea.

The Role of Vice President Sara Duterte in Foreign Policy

It is important to understand the role of Vice President Sara Duterte in the context of Philippine foreign policy. While the Vice President holds a significant position in the government, her responsibilities primarily lie in domestic affairs and assisting the President in the governance of the country. The Vice President is not directly responsible for formulating or implementing foreign policy decisions.
The Secretary of National Defense and the Secretary of Foreign Affairs, on the other hand, are the key figures in shaping the country’s foreign policy. They are responsible for representing the Philippines in international relations, negotiating with foreign governments, and safeguarding the country’s interests abroad. These officials work closely with the President to develop and execute the nation’s foreign policy agenda.
However, it is worth noting that the Vice President can still play a role in foreign policy, albeit an indirect one. As a prominent figure in the government, Vice President Duterte can use her platform to advocate for certain foreign policy objectives or highlight important international issues. She can also engage in diplomatic initiatives and represent the country in ceremonial events or international conferences.
Furthermore, the Vice President’s role as an influential political figure can also have an impact on foreign policy indirectly. Her stance on certain issues or her relationships with foreign leaders can shape public opinion and influence the overall direction of the country’s foreign policy. In this sense, Vice President Duterte’s actions and statements can contribute to the broader discourse on foreign affairs within the Philippines.
In light of this, Representative Duterte’s defense of his sister is grounded in the understanding that the Vice President should not be held accountable for matters outside her purview. By redirecting the focus to the appropriate authorities, he highlights the need to address concerns about Chinese aggression through diplomatic channels and the proper channels of government. It is important to recognize the distinct roles and responsibilities of different government officials in order to effectively address foreign policy challenges and ensure a cohesive approach to international affairs. The importance of defending sovereignty cannot be overstated in this context. Sovereignty is the cornerstone of a nation’s identity and independence, and any encroachment upon it must be met with a firm response. The West Philippine Sea is not only a vital economic and strategic area for the Philippines but also a symbol of its sovereignty and territorial integrity.
The Chinese water cannon attack on a Philippine supply vessel is a clear violation of international law and an affront to the Philippines’ sovereignty. The UNCLOS, which is widely recognized as the legal framework governing maritime disputes, clearly defines the rights and responsibilities of coastal states. The Philippines, as a signatory to the convention, has every right to assert its claims and protect its interests in the West Philippine Sea.
The escalating tensions in the region, fueled by China’s aggressive actions, pose a significant threat to the Philippines’ maritime resources and national security. The presence of Chinese vessels, including the China Coast Guard and the Chinese Maritime Militia, not only undermines the Philippines’ sovereignty but also jeopardizes the livelihoods of Filipino fishermen and the ecological balance of the region.
In response to these challenges, the Philippine government has taken a strong stance in defense of its sovereignty. The Department of Foreign Affairs’ protest against the Chinese vessels’ aggressive actions is a clear message to the international community that the Philippines will not tolerate any infringement upon its sovereignty. This diplomatic effort, coupled with the country’s commitment to strengthening its maritime capabilities, demonstrates the government’s determination to safeguard its interests and protect its citizens.
Furthermore, defending sovereignty is not just a matter of national pride; it is also crucial for maintaining regional stability and upholding the rule of law. The West Philippine Sea is not an isolated dispute but part of a broader pattern of assertiveness by China in the South China Sea. By standing up for its sovereignty, the Philippines sets an example for other countries facing similar challenges and sends a message that unilateral actions and disregard for international law will not be tolerated.
In conclusion, the Chinese water cannon attack on a Philippine supply vessel highlights the importance of defending sovereignty in the face of external threats. The Philippines’ assertion of its rights and its commitment to protecting its interests in the West Philippine Sea demonstrate the government’s determination to safeguard its sovereignty, ensure the safety of its citizens, and uphold international law. By doing so, the Philippines not only protects its own interests but also contributes to regional stability and the preservation of the rules-based international order. This requires leaders who are willing to make tough decisions and take a stand, even when it may not be popular or easy. The Filipino people need leaders who prioritize their interests and are willing to defend the country’s sovereignty. Remaining silent in the face of foreign aggression is not an option, as it would be seen as a betrayal to the nation and its people.
Akbayan’s criticism of Vice President Sara Duterte is rooted in the belief that she has not shown the leadership and courage necessary to effectively address the issue of foreign aggression. They argue that she has not taken a strong stance against China’s encroachment on Philippine territory and has failed to prioritize the interests of the Filipino people.
The call for leadership and courage in this context is not only about defending the country’s sovereignty, but also about standing up for the rights and welfare of the Filipino people. It is about ensuring that the government’s actions align with the best interests of the nation and its citizens.
In recent years, the Philippines has faced numerous challenges in the realm of foreign policy, particularly in relation to China’s assertiveness in the South China Sea. The incident involving the Chinese water cannon attack on Filipino fishermen is just one example of the complexities and tensions that exist in the region.
As the Philippines navigates these challenges, it is crucial for its leaders to prioritize the nation’s interests and uphold its sovereignty. This requires leaders who are willing to make tough decisions and take a stand, even when it may not be popular or easy. It requires leaders who are willing to defend the country’s sovereignty and protect the rights and welfare of the Filipino people.
In conclusion, the defense of Vice President Sara Duterte by her brother, Representative Paolo Duterte, highlights the need to understand the roles and responsibilities of different government officials in addressing matters of foreign policy. The incident involving the Chinese water cannon attack underscores the importance of defending sovereignty and protecting the interests of the Filipino people. The call for leadership and courage resonates with the public’s expectation of their leaders. As the Philippines navigates the complexities of international relations, it is crucial for its leaders to prioritize the nation’s interests and uphold its sovereignty.

Source: The Manila Times

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