Photo courtesy by INQ
By Tracy Cabrera
MANILA — Realizing the importance of having a strong military force that could defend Philippine sovereignty and territorial rights, Partido Reporma senatorial bet Guillermo Eleazar vowed that he would prioritize measures that would support the modernization projects of the country’s military as well as the improvement of facilities and livelihood of residents in the islands located within the so-called disputed areas of the West Philippine Sea.
Eleazar particularly pinpointed the need to strengthen the presence of PH’s military deployed in remote Pag-Asa Island, which is part of Spratlys and located 280 nautical miles west of Puerto Princesa in Palawan and 932 kilometers south-west of Metro Manila.
The 26th Philippine National Police (PNP) chief visited Pag-Asa Island with Partido Reporma standard-bearer Panfilo ‘Ping’ Lacson last November 20, where both candidates had consultations with military personnel stationed in the area as well as residents who have firsthand knowledge of the real situation with regards to incursions and harassment by Chinese militia who have been frequenting the area and bullying local fisherfolk.
Aside from modernizing our military capability, Eleazar noted that it is about time that the Philippines strengthen its alliances to forge trade and defense treaties for mutual cooperation among member states of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) in order to uphold a ‘balance of power in the region in the face of growing expansionist activities by Beijing in its desire for dominance in Asia.
The retired PNP director underscored how small developing countries like the Philippines could defend their sovereignty by uniting with their neighbors in mutual cooperation not only militarily but in trade and economic relations as well.
In ending, Eleazar expressed his full support for initiatives that would strengthen and cement an alliance with other nations that would effectively deal with attempts to disregard the sovereign rights, especially in the light of the ongoing territorial dispute in the West Philippine Sea.
“Habang pinapalakas natin ang ating Sandatahang Lakas para makatugon sa mga isyu at kaganapan sa West Philippine Sea, naniniwala ako na nararapat ding paigtingin natin ang ating alyansa sa ibang bansa upang makakuha rin tayo ng suporta mula sa kanila,” the 56-year-old retired general concluded. (ai/mtvn)