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Not too late?

09:02 AM April 23, 2019

It seems the efficacy of our hard-earned victory at The Hague suffered tremendously.

It could have impacted more forcefully and gained worldwide acceptance and collective support had President Duterte given top priority to the decision as soon as he took office, instead of conjuring the likelihood of war if we allowed the verdict to take its course, and then shelving it in the hope of getting better trade relations with China.

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Mr. Duterte’s diplomatic gambit at first seemed to have somewhat appeased the already souring relations between the two countries; we were lulled into thinking that by putting the decision aside, everything in the West Philippine Sea would become fine.

Thus, in just one blink, we saw the sad spectacle of hundreds of Chinese vessels swarming our Pag-asa backyard.

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Faced with the public’s seething resentment over the Chinese incursion, the government is taking a different tack: invoking The Hague decision. It now seems hell-bent on flexing its muscles, moral or otherwise; it now openly declares that Chinese actions are clear violations of our country’s sovereignty, sovereign rights and jurisdiction.

The flexing may not be too late; it shows Filipinos can muster enough courage to stand up to anything when under threat.

BENJIE GUERRERO, attybenjie@gmail.com

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TAGS: Benjie Guerrero, Inquirer letters, Maritime Dispute, PH-China relations, Rodrigo Duterte, South China Sea, West Philippine Sea
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