(Eagle News) – Senator Christopher “Bong” Go will be accompanying President Rodrigo Duterte when he visits China next week.
Go, the former special assistant of President Duterte, said that “one of the matters that Duterte and Chinese President Xi Jinping might talk about in their meeting is the reported passing of Chinese warships in Philippine waters without clearance from the Philippine government.”
“I cannot speak on behalf of the President, pero sa pag-uusap po namin, malamang po ay isa po ito sa pag-uusapan nila. (In our talk, this could be one issue that they’ll discuss),” Go said in an interview.
The senator said that the two leaders would have a restricted one-on-one meeting.
“Magkakaroon sila ng restricted meeting, ibig sabihin, magkakaroon sila ng one-on-one. Sila po ang makakaalam kung ano ang puwede nilang pag-usapan dito. Maraming gustong iparating si Pangulong Duterte sa liderato po ng Tsina. (They will have a restricted meeting, which means they will have a one-on-one. They know what could be talked about. President Duterte wants to relay many things to China’s leadership), ” Go said.
President Duterte will be visiting China for six days, from August 28 to September 2.
-Watching FIBA World Cup too-
Go said he was one of those who received an invitation to the 2019 FIBA World Cup which will be held in China.
The senator said that he and President Duterte were planning to attend the FIBA opening ceremonies and watch the game between the Philippines and Italy.
“Dadalo po ang ating Pangulo. Isa siya sa mga world leaders na inimbitahan po ng host country sa opening po ng FIBA World sa August 30. Ang first game naman po natin, laban sa Italy, ay gaganapin sa Guangzhou. August 31 po ito, at manonood po ang Pangulo,” Go said.
Go also said that President Duterte would be giving “moral support” to the Philippines’ Gilas team
“Magbibigay po siya ng moral support. It will be a big boost po sa ating team, ang presensya ng ating mahal na Pangulo on the sidelines. Ako naman po nasa bench po ako ng Gilas dahil team adviser po ako,” he added.
-Fighting for Philippine interests-
Senator Go said he is confident that the President will fight for the interests of the Philippines but will do so through diplomacy.
“I’m sure, sisiguraduhin po niya na kung ano ang atin ay atin. Kaibigan natin ang Tsina. Gusto rin po ng Pangulo magkaroon pa rin po ng magandang relasyon sa Tsina, at kung ano man ‘yung pinag-aawayan ay puwede namang pag-usapan, idaan sa diplomasya.”
President Rodrigo Duterte on Wednesday, Aug. 21, maintained he would raise the arbitral ruling that invalidated China’s nine-dash line during his trip to China even if some have told him not to do so.
“Sabi nila hindi pag-usapan, sabi ko no. If I’m not allowed as a President of a sovereign nation to talk whatever I want to talk about then let us rather not talk altogether. ‘Wag na,” the President said at the inauguration of the Tumingad Solar Power Project in Tablas Island, Romblon.
It was unclear, however, who was stopping him from raising the issue.
The President reiterated he would push for a peaceful resolution to the dispute, saying he could not afford to send soldiers in a war with China.
He reiterated he would also raise the 60-40 joint exploration in the disputed seas, hoping it “will be a good start.”
“I hope that it will graduate into something like how do we solve the arbitral ruling peacefully,” he said.
Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo earlier said that the President is warning foreign ships of serious consequences if they pass through Philippine territorial waters without proper permission, after the Philippine military reported that Chinese vessels had been observed to be doing so in the past months.
-Go: China should respect PHL territorial waters-
Go said he supports the President’s statement. “Sinusuportahan ko po si Pangulong Duterte dito. Ang ibig sabihin, ang atin, atin po ‘yun, kailangan nilang magpaalam.”
He said that he believes China also respects the Philippines and President Duterte, and should respect our country’s territorial waters by notifying the government if their ships would be passing through. This is if China was truly a friend of the Philippines, the senator said.
“Ako naman ay naniniwalang nirerespeto ito ng bansang Tsina, at kung isa po silang kaibigan ay respetuhin po nila ang directives ng ating Pangulo. Kung ano ‘yung atin ay dapat respetuhin nila.”
“Kung dumaan sila dito, same naman po, kung tayo naman ang dadaan sa kanila, magpapaalam din po tayo. Bibigyan ng authority ng ating gobyerno ang pagdaan nila kung with compliance po. Ang sabi nga ni Pangulo, in a friendly manner naman po. Sumunod lang po sila sa ating batas,” Go said.