Lawmakers worried at sea row’s impact on investments

Lawmakers worried at sea row’s impact on investments

By: - Reporter /
/ 05:45 AM April 01, 2024

Lawmakers worried at sea row’s impact on investments

House Minority Leader Marcelino Libanan | PHOTO: Offiocial facebook page of Cong. Nonoy Libanan

House Minority Leader Marcelino Libanan on Sunday expressed concern that tension in the West Philippine Sea () could “dampen” the Philippines’ efforts to lure more foreign investors and urged both Beijing and Manila to “exhaust all diplomatic avenues to deescalate the situation.”

In a statement on Sunday, the 4Ps party list representative particularly expressed worry over international news reports on tension in the , saying, “We are very concerned that prospective foreign investors might misperceive and misunderstand the tensions as a looming security risk.”

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The lawmaker pointed out that President Marcos has been visiting other countries “precisely to encourage their corporations to put up factories in the Philippines,” which is seen to create more jobs for Filipinos.

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According to Libanan, the Marcos administration needed to “reassure potential foreign investors that regardless of the maritime dispute, the Philippines remains highly conducive to profitable business activities.”

He said, “We must stress that despite the tensions, the Philippines offers a stable, peaceful, and safe haven for the gainful production of goods and services by foreign investors.”

Meanwhile, several lawmakers slammed ex-Speaker and Davao del Norte Rep. Pantaleon Alvarez’s call during the Holy Week for Mr. Marcos’ resignation amid escalating tensions in the .

In a statement on Holy Wednesday, Alvarez had proposed that the President resign and give way to Vice President Sara Duterte to deescalate tensions in the , saying, “I will advise the President to reflect and meditate this Holy Week. If Jesus Christ himself made sacrifice for the people, maybe it is his turn to do the same by voluntarily resigning from his position and turn over the functions of the presidency to the duly elected Vice President.”

House Assistant Majority Leader and Lanao del Sur Rep. Zia Alonto Adiong claimed that Alvarez’s call betrayed a “pro-China stance” and accused the former speaker of prioritizing political maneuvering over national strategy.

According to Adiong, “It’s transparent that Rep. Alvarez is less concerned about national strategy and more focused on political maneuvering,” adding, “His call for [Mr. Marcos] to resign reflects only his pro-China stance and not any true concern for the plight of fellow Filipinos.”

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Political ambitions

He pointed out, “Our nation’s leadership and policy decisions should be guided by the best interests of the Philippines, not by the political ambitions of a few.”

For his part House Assistant Majority Leader and Zambales Rep. Jefferson Khonghun advised friends and allies of Duterte to avoid making statements on wanting her to take over Malacañang with Mr. Marcos still having over four years of his six-year term.

“It’s becoming increasingly clear that supporters of the previous administration, like Representative Alvarez, are impatient and unwilling to wait for the 2028 presidential elections,” Khonghun said, adding, “[Alvarez’s] recent statements seem less about genuine concern for national strategy and more about orchestrating a shift in power before the due time. This rush betrays a disregard for the democratic electoral process and the will of the Filipino people.”

“We must remain vigilant and discerning, recognizing these maneuvers for what they potentially are: a calculated attempt to undermine our democracy and manipulate the presidential succession for their gain,” Khonghun pointed out.

On the other hand, House Deputy Majority Leader and Tingog party list Rep. Jude Acidre described Alvarez’s call for the President’s resignation as “not only defeatist but dangerously naive,” explaining, “To suggest that [Mr. Marcos] should resign in the face of aggression is to misunderstand the very essence of leadership and national sovereignty.”

READ: ‘countermeasures’ set vs China – Marcos

“We must confront our challenges head-on, not by backing down, but by asserting our rightful place in the international community,” Acidre said, adding, “Our focus on economic development and addressing societal issues does not preclude the protection of our national interests.”

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According to the lawmaker, “It is possible, and imperative, to pursue both,” pointing out, “Calling for resignation instead of resilience and resolve shows a lack of faith in our nation’s capabilities and the leadership of [Mr. Marcos.]” INQ

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