Manila (April 27)--Faculty members of De La Salle University on Monday decried what they called the government's failed response to China's long-running incursions on Philippine sovereignty.
In a statement, DLSU professors from the departments of political science and international relations said China's aggression in the country's exclusive economic zone (EEZ) in the West Philippine Sea "jeopardize the welfare of our fisherfolk and the sustainability of aquatic resources in the area."
"We are equally appalled by the failure of our government to effectively secure the sovereignty of the country," they added.
Hundreds of Chinese ships are still lingering in the West Philippine Sea, prompting the Philippine government to file a slew of diplomatic protests and bolster its own presence in the area. However, President Rodrigo Duterte has been silent on the issue save for his continued reiteration of the claim that asserting Philippine sovereignty in the area will lead to war with China.
"While the government has belatedly invoked the Hague ruling and filed diplomatic protests, the President should disabuse himself of the simplistic notion that the only other option is to antagonize China and risk war," DLSU professors said.
Echoing calls from lawmakers, the professors urged the government to consider "multilateral solutions" to China's aggression which affects not only the Philippines but other claimants in the South China Sea.
"We must seriously strengthen our maritime security capacity," they also said.
"The Chief Executive must genuinely show the resolve he promised during his 2016 presidential campaign for in doing so he will fulfill his constitutional duty."
Duterte campaigned on taking a confrontational stance with China on the West Philippine Sea, even claiming that he would jet ski to a disputed island and plant a Philippine flag there.
But, in 2019, he announced an agreement with Chinese President Xi Jinping allowing China to trawl in Philippine waters. Presidential spokesman Harry Roque recently denied the existence of such an agreement, contradicting a previous spokesman who said the agreement was "informal" but "binding."
"We must stand against those who think that might is right. It is time that our government values our country's patrimony," the professors said.
"We re-assert that appeasement emboldens the aggressor, peace without dignity is subjugation, and asserting our rights is not a declaration of war."
De La Salle professors ‘appalled by failure of gov't' to defend West Philippine Sea
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