By Gerry Albert Corpuz and Himala dela Cuesta
MANILA, Philippines—Leftwing activists belonging to Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya) said President Benigno Simeon Aquino III is engaged in highly provocative measures instead of pursuing the old but tested diplomatic way in resolving the current dispute with China by allowing Japan's naval ships to come in Manila for a five-day goodwill visit.
In a press statement, Pamalakaya vice-chairperson Salvador France told delegates to the provincial assembly of Pamalakaya-Palawan that the presence of Tokyo's naval ships in the country will spur another stinging protest from Beijing, given the country's current territorial dispute with China over the Scarborough Shoal in the West Philippine Sea.
"This political-tit-for-tat will only worsen the situation. President Aquino is giving the free franchise to US and Japanese military forces to explore and exploit the West Philippine Sea for their respective military adventures in East Asia and the Pacific to provoke Beijing and sacrifice the Filipino people's sovereign rights and territorial integrity for the sake of US and Japanese imperial activities in the Philippines and in the region," added France.
The Pamalakaya leader added: "President Aquino is not sincere in using the diplomatic formula to resolve the current tension in West Philippine Sea. In fact, he is toeing the political-military line prescribed by Washington D.C as the first master, and Tokyo as the second-fiddle master in this stellar cast of puppetry and betrayal."
The Philippine Navy on Friday announced that Japanese naval ships ---JS Kashima (TV-3508), JS Shimayuki (TV-3513) and JS Matsuyuki (DD-130) will be in the country from May 28 until June 1 for a series of goodwill activities with the Philippine Navy and some government agencies.
The squadron will be headed by Rear Admiral Hidetoshi Fuchinoue, the Philippine Navy said.Foreign Secretary Albert Del Rosario has said that Japan would likely provide the country with 10 40-meter patrol boats under its official development aid and two larger ones as grants. The Philippine Coast Guard also expects to acquire 10 brand-new patrol ships from Japan within the year.
The goodwill visit comes amid the Philippines’ territorial dispute with China that started when two Chinese maritime ships prevented a Philippine Navy ship from apprehending Chinese poachers last April 10.
As of Tuesday this week, China has deployed five maritime ships, 16 fishing boats and 56 dinghies that apparently continued to fish and gather endangered marine resources in the Panatag shoal despite China’s fishing ban.