Multilateral discussion needed to deal with Chinese construction in Mabini reef, Palace says
A multilateral discussion is needed to deal with China’s reclamation project at the Mabini Reef in the West Philippine Sea, Malacanang said Wednesday.
The Department of National Defense has confirmed that China is carrying out “reclamation or earthmoving activities” at the Mabini Reef, also known as the Johnson Reef.
Presidential Spokesperson Edwin Lacierda said during a press briefing that Vietnam also has a claim on the reef, hence the need for a multilateral discussion rather than a bilateral dialogue.
“The President has always said that we prefer a multilateral dialogue consistent with international law, and consistent with the Declaration on the Conduct (DOC) of Parties in the South China Sea, where there has been an emphasis on the provisions on not escalating any further tensions and not disrupting the status quo,” Lacierda said.
He emphasized that “we do not want to escalate any tension” between China and the Philippines.
Any activity in the disputed territory will be seen as a violation of the declaration, which was signed by China and member countries of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) in Cambodia back in November 2002.
According to the DOC, “the Parties undertake to exercise self-restraint in the conduct of activities that would complicate or escalate disputes and affect peace and stability including, among others, refraining from action of inhabiting on the presently uninhabited islands, reefs, shoals, cays, and other features and to handle their differences in a constructive manner.” PND (ag)
Economy is growing even without amending Constitution’s economic provisions, says Palace
The Philippines is experiencing economic growth, even without amending the Constitution’s provisions on the economy, Presidential Spokesperson Edwin Lacierda said Wednesday.
Lacierda was responding to reporters asking for Malacanang’s reaction to the Congress’ move to change some economic provisions of the Constitution.
“What we need to do is to better the business environment and that is what we have been doing. We have been leveling the playing field. And proof that we have created a better business climate would be the credit rating we've been given,” he said.
He was referring to the Standard & Poor’s (S&P) recent upgrade of the country’s credit rating, raising its long-term sovereign credit rating to “BBB” from “BBB-“ and its short-term rating to “A-2” from “A-3." This is the highest credit rating the Philippines has ever achieved.
“These things did not require us to amend the Constitution. Yet people are seeing that we are moving in the right direction,” he said. PND (ag)