Good morning, Rappler readers!
Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon has called on President Rodrigo Duterte and his administration to review their “policy of appeasement and accommodation on China” because it apparently has not translated to better economic relations with the Asian giant.
The Philippines got a measly $31 million worth of foreign direct investments from China in 2017, he said, in contrast to $2.17 billion Chinese FDIs to Vietnam, which has been aggressively asserting its rights over the South China Sea.
Out in the seas, Filipino fishermen go to Panatag Shoal off Zambales, within the Philippines’ exclusive economic zone, to make a living – only for their catch to be taken by members of the China Coast Guard.
The “barter” – as what Chinese Ambassador to the Philippines Zhao Jianhua wants to call it – is this: for P3,000 worth of cash, Filipino fishermen are given two bottles of water. This was among the complaints aired by the fishermen in a dialogue with the military and local officials in Zambales on Thursday, June 14.
As far as the Chinese government is concerned, however, it is “out of goodwill” that they are making the Filipinos fish in the Philippines’ own fishing ground, and Duterte’s spokesperson Harry Roque – who used to lawyer for some of these fishermen – saying that “what matters” now is they are allowed by China to fish.
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