Roque dares critics to debate on WPS

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Palace dared yesterday the political opposition to engage in debate over the West Philippine Sea (WPS) conflict rather than resort to the gimmick of hanging tarpaulins saying the “Philippines is a province of China” to mock the Duterte administration.

Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque issued the challenge noting that President Rodrigo Duterte continues to enjoy high approval and trust ratings despite the opposition’s numerous tirades against him.

“The problem with the opposition, they don’t have anything else to say. If only they will be willing to engage in a debate on issues rather than put up such tarpaulins, maybe they will be able to convince the people to be on their side,” he said.

The Palace official was referring to the “Welcome to the Philippines, province of China” banners that were seen hanging in various footbridges in Metro Manila last Thursday which coincided with the second year anniversary of the ruling of the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague.

Rody’s joke induces tarps
In its ruling, the Arbitral Tribunal declared the nine-dash line claim of the People’s Republic of China over the whole South China Sea as without legal basis under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Seas (UNCLOS) and international law.

It uphold the Philippines rights under UNCLOS over its exclusive economic zone (EEZ) in the West Philippine Sea above China’s claim over international waters in the West Philippine Sea.

The said banner was obviously lifted from President Duterte’s joke that the Philippines can be a province of the Asian giant at an event attended by Filipino-Chinese businessmen.

“He (Chinese President Xi Jinping) is a man of honor. They can even make us ‘Philippines, province of China,’ we will even avail of services for free. If China were a woman, I’d woo her,” the President was quoted saying in his speech early this year.