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Philippines Leaders: Start China Cooperation Now

July 13, 2016 (EIRNS)—Several Philippine political leaders have spoken out against the mass hype in the West over the Hague ruling against China, backing the new Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte’s intention to start bilateral talks with China despite the ruling of the Hague Arbitration Court against China.

Xinhua quotes Butch Valdes, the former Undersecretary of Education and now the head of the Philippine LaRouche Society, saying: "The negotiations must start immediately. The arbitral ruling is both useless and irrelevant."

Alberto Encomienda, the former secretary-general of the Marine and Ocean Affairs Center at the government’s Foreign Affairs Department, agreed with Valdes, said his government should never have taken the case to the Hague in the first place. He said of the Hague ruling, "if left to the two of us (China and the Philippines), the ruling would not intensify anything," since both sides want to negotiate an agreement which would involve joint development. "However," he added, "if there is U.S. intervention in the region, that’s a different story."

Former Senator Kit Tatad, in his regular column in the Manila Times, reported that the argument before the Hague Court by then-Foreign Secretary Albert del Rosario was fraudulent, when he told the Court, "to the surprise even of Filipino observers, that efforts at bilateral negotiations with China had failed." Sen. Tatad added, "The Philippines has spurned any attempts at bilateral talks as far as this observer is concerned." He then promoted working with China in the New Silk Road programs, but asked: Will cooperation and connectivity with China be compatible with the Philippines Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA—the deal by the former government to allow massive US military deployment into the Philippines) with Washington? Obviously, there would be some problems, if the US deployment through EDCA is aimed principally at Beijing. But what exactly is the official narrative here? Is the US willing to say, and is [Duterte] ready and willing to believe, that EDCA is not intended against Beijing?

Sen. Tatad then calls on President Duterte to follow the advice from organizations associated with Butch Valdes,

"to invite himself to one of those [US military] installations and see for himself what exactly are stockpiled there. So far not even the Armed Forces of the Philippines Chief of Staff or Secretary of National Defense has been allowed this privilege."

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