CHINA should earn the trust of Filipinos, newly-appointed Defense Secretary Gilberto “Gibo” Teodoro Jr. said on Thursday, as the Asian superpower becomes more aggressive in asserting its claims in the South China Sea.
Teodoro made the statement after the Philippine Coast Guard questioned China for its alleged “contradicting” words and actions when it comes to the West Philippine Sea (WPS).
“As a stronger country, it has a bigger obligation to be magnanimous and show trust and to earn the trust of the Filipino people by conforming its activities to recognize norms of international law,” Teodoro said during a Palace press briefing.
As the new Defense chief, Teodoro said he is pushing for “deconfliction” to resolve the country’s territorial disputes in the South China Sea.
“Iyong deconfliction as much as possible, iyan ay balanse ng pagtatayo sa lahat ng gustong umabuso sa ating territorial integrity, coupled with deconfliction, kung pwedeng mag-usap, mag-usap (That deconfliction as much as possible, that is a balance of construction against all those who want to abuse our territorial integrity, coupled with deconfliction, if we can talk, we should talk),” he said.
“Pero mayroong hindi puwedeng i-cross ang Secretary of National Defense, hindi natin pwedeng i-bargain away ang ating teritoryo sa kahit anumang usapin (But there is something that the Secretary of National Defense cannot cross, we cannot bargain away our territory on any matter),” he added.
Teodoro also echoed President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.’s position that the country’s move to boost its defensive capabilities is “for purely defensive purposes at deterrent purposes.”
“Ang pagtatag ng ating credible deterrence, ang pagtatatag ng ating kakayahan na ipagtanggol ang ating sarili ay sarili nating usapin. Kung sinuman ang i-partner natin natin, wala ng pakialam iyong ibang mga tao diyan (Establishing our credible deterrence, establishing our ability to defend ourselves is our own business. If we partner with anyone, the other people doesn’t have any say on that),” Teodoro said.