By Francis T. Wakefield
Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana yesterday disputed claims that the Duterte administration has mismanaged the territorial dispute with China over the West Philippine Sea.
Lorenzana described the government’s handling of the issue as well-managed. “We have managed it very well through the President’s leadership, hindi mismanage ‘yun, sa akin hindi mismanage ‘yun,” Lorenzana told reporters at the flag-raising ceremony in Camp Aguinaldo, Quezon City.
Instead, Lorenzana said the previous administration which he did not specify mismanaged the issue. “Ang nag-mismanage ‘yung previous administration dahil nagkagulo-gulo rito dahil mismanaged,” he added.
He noted that the Duterte government’s management of the issue has benefitted the Philippines.
According to him, Lorenzana said the Philippines had no trade with China when President Duterte assumed office in July 2016. China was also not buying Philippine products, he said.
“Walang (rin) tourist na Chinese na pumupunta rito. Hindi tayo nakakapangisda dun sa Scarborough Shoal. Iyung ating mga tropa hina-harass nila,” he said. “Ngayon, we sell our bananas there. They buy all our bananas. There tourists nila rito nagdoble. We can fish there and ‘yung ating mga tropa hindi na hinaharass except iyung very isolated incident in the Ayungin. So is that mismanagement? Is that mismanagement?” Lorenzana added.
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