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Sea wranglings won’t jar rating

Kristina Maralit

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Malacanang maintained yesterday that President Rodrigo Duterte’s stand on the Recto Bank incident and China’s activities in the West Philippine Sea won’t dampen his popularity with his supporters.

Issue surrounding the ramming of a Filipino fishing boat by a Chinese vessel is not a popularity game

Stressing that the Chief Executive is just performing his duty of protecting the Filipino people, presidential spokesman Salvador Panelo stressed that the issue surrounding the ramming of a Filipino fishing boat by a Chinese vessel is not a popularity game.

“The President always say that ‘It does not matter if it’s popular or not, I will still do it. What I will do is I will perform my duty in the Constitution as directed to me, which is Section 4, Article 2,’” Panelo said.

“Basically, what he’s saying is his prime duty is to serve and protect the people,” he added.

Sky-high rating
The Duterte administration’s performance rating was at its highest 81 percent as shown in a Social Weather Stations (SWS) survey for the first quarter.

The poll figure was six points higher than the government’s net rating listed for December 2018, which SWS attributed to the increased approval of the President in all geographic areas.

Mr. Duterte drew flak from his critics after previously saying that last month’s incident where 22 Filipino fishermen were left at sea after their boat was rammed by a Chinese vessel was just “a small maritime incident.”

Issue weaponized
The President was also ganged up on by his critics for revealing he cannot bar China’s citizens from fishing in the country’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ) because of a verbal agreement he had with Chinese President Xi Jinping in 2016.

The pact was done to ensure the Philippines and China remain “good neighbors” with each other.

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