Davao City Mayor Rodrigo Duterte and Senator Miriam Defensor Santiago came up with novel, maybe even incendiary, ways in dealing with the South China Sea dispute aside from pursuing the diplomatic track.
Asked during Pangasinan leg of the Pilipinas Debates 2016 on what his administration can do to protect the Filipino fisherfolks affected by the dispute, Duterte said the country would abide by the decision of the arbitration court in The Hague.
Duterte, however, said that if the tribunal ruled in favor of the Philippines and China refused to honor the decision, he would personally go to the disputed territory to jetski to the disputed areas and plant the Philippine flag.
“Kapag sinabi [ng UN arbitral tribunal] na panalo tayo at ayaw ng China, I will not go to war. Pupunta ako sa China. Ngayon 'pag ayaw nila, I will ask the Navy to bring me to the nearest boundary, diyan sa Spratly, sa Scarborough,” Duterte said.
“Bababa ako at sasakay ako ng jetski, dala dala ko ang flag ng Filipino at pupunta ako dun sa airport [ng China] tapos itanim ko. I will say, 'This is ours and do what you want with me'," he added.
Duterte added in jest that he is prepared to die in the disputed territory as it has been his long-time dream to become a hero.
“I will stake that claim. Matagal ko nang ambisyon yan, na maging hero din ako. Pag pinatay nila ako doon bahala na kayo umiyak dito,” he said.
Santiago said her administration would have pursue both legal and diplomatic means to make sure the Filipino fishers are protected despite the dispute.
She said she would have the Philippine Coast Guard engage Chinese poachers in Philippine waters.
“Sa legal na paraan, kung nandiyan sila sa ating katubigan at kinukuha pa ang isda natin, Kamukha ng sinabi ko noong Immigration commissioner ako, tatawagin ko ang Coast Guard, bombahin ko ang mga iyon!” Santiago said.
On the diplomatic means, Santiago said it is highly important for the Philippines to rally the support of the world in order for county to assert its claim.
“Ngayon, ang pangalawang paraan naman ay ang diplomatiko, kausapin natin sila, tapos sabihin natin, we have the world public opinion behind us. Ang paniwala ng buong mundo atin talaga iyan e, kaya huwag nila tayo paandaran ng ganyan,” Santiago said. —NB, GMA News