The Manila Standard Today
Apr. 23, 2008
By Joyce Pangco Pañares
President Arroyo will call for another joint meeting of the Cabinet and Congress to resolve the contentious issue of whether or not to include the Spratly Islands and Shoal in the country’s proposed territorial baseline.
This developed as House Speaker Prospero Nograles said he would rather see the baseline bill put on hold in Congress until the Legislative and Executive branches arrive at a consensus. This is to ensure that the Philippines is able to meet the May 2009 deadline set by the United Nations for delineating baselines, Nograles said.
Mrs. Arroyo decided not to include the baseline bill during yesterday’s meeting at the Palace because of the “very complicated” nature of the proposal, Presidential Spokesman Ignacio Bunye said. The meeting was convened through the Legislative-Executive Development Advisory Council.
“A separate Ledac meeting will be scheduled. This is a very complicated issue and it might not be appropriate to lump it together with other issues,” Bunye said.
Justice Secretary Raul Gonzalez, who is a member of the inter-agency legal team studying the baseline bill, said the next meeting will likely take place early next month.
The House of Representatives has deferred the approval on third and final reading of the controversial bill for at least three weeks to make way for the Executive and the Senate to clear all issues.
“It has been put on hold indefinitely. We do not want to come up with a hard-line version without consulting the Senate and the President first,” Nograles said after the Ledac meeting.
“In order for the bill to become a law, we will need the concurrence of both branches. We don’t want the baseline bill to suffer the same fate as other bills that were either turned down by the Senate or vetoed by the President so until a consensus is reached, it will be on hold,” the Speaker said.
“If you include the Kalayaan Group of Islands [or Spratlys] in the baseline, you will include even the islands occupied by Vietnam and China. That would anger our neighbors. But if you consider the KGI as a regime of islands, then our claim is still there,” Gonzalez said in a phone interview.
Executive Secretary Eduardo Ermita has sent a formal letter to Congress asking the lawmakers to reconsider the bill, saying that excluding the contested territories from the draft baseline will not weaken the country’s claims on them.
The three options being pushed by the Palace include bringing back the baseline bill to the House committee on foreign relations to include amendments by the Commission on Maritime and Ocean Affairs even before the bill could pass third reading; preparing an entirely new bill for deliberations by the same committee; or pushing through with the third reading and wait for the bicameral conference committee to convene and insert the needed amendments.
First and foremost, there are many basis why our government before considered spratly as part of our territory, however I wonder why our Government today would like to have a caucus to know if we going to pursue to claim it as part of our territorial baseline. Why? Is it because our tails retract because of the claim also of our neighboring countries, like china?
Sabagay may rason mag bahag ang buntot natin, eh di pa na modernize and mga armaments natin eh.
|« Previous Thread | Next Thread »|
Users Browsing this Thread
There are currently 1 users browsing this thread. (0 members and 1 guests)