While he supports the recent action of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan through a resolution seeking redress for the latest Chinese incursions in the West Philippine Sea, Vice-Governor Leoncio N. Ola would rather leave the matter to national government officials to address.

Ola said that with the problem in the region already decades old, the national government must finally be able to find solutions and take significant actions.

During their regular session last Tuesday, Board Member Roseller S. Pineda, through a privilege speech, sought to call the attention of the Department of Foreign Affairs and the Department of National Defense, through a resolution, to the latest reports of “surreptitious activities in the Spratly islands.”

“Siguro yung ating national government ay dapat gumawa na [ulit] ng hakbang diyan dahil kawawa naman yung maliliit na mangingisda na hindi na makalapit doon. At sa tingin ko, kung ano ang position ng national government, yun ang susundan natin. Kami, for how many years na ay yun din ang palaging position ng Sangguniang Panlalawigan na dapat ay sa Palawan talaga yan. Pero ipaubaya na natin sa matataas na opisyal ng ating bansa sapagkat ang position ng ating provincial government ay always na atin yan,” Ola told media in an interview, Thursday.

“While hindi natin nilulubayan yan, hanggang doon lang din yung kaya natin at siyempre mayroon ding mga mas mataas na opisyal doon sa national level. At even yung pangulo mismo ay nagsabi na hindi niya pababayaan yan. Wala namang national officials ang nagsabing hindi atin yan,” he added.

The vice governor said that he agrees with what Pineda said, especially about how China doesn’t seem to care about the Philippines’ rights over the disputed territories.

He, however, said the government should be cautious with actions to be taken so as not to create further tension in order to protect Filipinos in the area, particularly the small fishermen.

“Dahil nga sa kanilang pwersa, parang binu-bully tayo, hindi nila iniintindi na nandoon tayo. Tama yung sinasabi ni Board Member Pineda na sasabihin lang ng China na wala yan kasi matagal nang pinag-uusapan pero wala namang nakakapigil sa atin,” he said.

“Kaya nga kung minsan sinasabi ko rin na parang nagsasawa na tayo na i-discuss dahil wala rin ngang resulta. Gumawa man kami ng resolution, hanggang doon lang, expression of sentiment lang at wala rin namang action doon sa taas,” he bemoaned.

Meanwhile, Ola also expressed support for the proposed joint exploration venture between the governments of China and the Philippines in the contested territory, saying it would be beneficial to the country and would lessen the tension.

“Ang pananaw ko dyan ay mas maganda, basta maayos din yung agreement kasi baka mamaya, pag nagsimula na, maging mas advantage sa kanila at kung magkano lang ang ibibigay sa atin. At ang maganda rin dyan ay mas maganda at least, magkakaroon tayo kesa naman solohin nila,” he stated.

He, however, said whatever agreements are made should be strong enough to be respected by China.

“Ang joint exploration, dapat matibay at irerespeto nila na kung anuman ang agreement, tuparin nila,” he said.

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