Drilon questions appeasement policy on China

Sen. Franklin Drilon.

SENATE Minority Leader Franklin M. Drilon has urged the Duterte administration to review its policy of appeasement and accommodation on China, saying it does not translate into better economic and trade benefits for the country.

“There is empirical evidence that such appeasement does not necessarily result in better investment in our country. Here, it’s not getting any better; it’s getting worse,” Drilon said in a news conference on Thursday.

Drilon cited the case of Vietnam, whose policy of confrontation with China yielded more positive results, to prove that there is no connection between the policy of appeasement and economic benefits.

Records show that the Philippines is lagging behind Vietnam in terms of direct investment from China.

Citing records, Drilon said in terms of foreign direct investment (FDI) coming from China in 2017, the Philippines got a measly $31 million, while Chinese direct investment to Vietnam was at a whopping $2.170 billion.

Drilon also expressed dismay at the lower bilateral trade between the Philippines and China as compared with Vietnam and China. In 2017, bilateral trade between the Philippines and China was $21.94 billion while that of Vietnam and China amounted to $71.85 billion.

In terms of Chinese tourist arrival to the Philippines, it was recorded at 968,447 only in 2017. In contrast, the Chinese tourist arrival in Vietnam in 2017 was 4 million.

“I am citing Vietnam, because the policy of Vietnam in terms of its relation with China is a complete opposite of our foreign policy thrust. And yet, they have four times more Chinese tourists; they have received more investment from China than what went to the Philippines,” Drilon said.

The minority leader also supports calls to file a protest against Chinese coast guards who allegedly harassed Filipino fishermen.

“This is more than just a bullying of our fishermen; this has implications on the recognized right of our country in that part of the South China Sea,” Drilon said.

The senator also said he did not believe the claim made by Secretary of Foreign Affairs Alan Peter Cayetano that he has sent 100 protests against China, as he expressed support to growing calls for the secretary to make them public.

“What is wrong with informing our people with how our government is protecting our sovereignty? There’s nothing wrong with that. The principle of transparency is enshrined in our Constitution,” he said.

p: wjg