Monday, March 18, 2013

Issue of claims of islets in the West Philippine Sea

President Benigno Simeon C. Aquino III said Sunday the diplomatic approach taken by the government in trying to solve the issue of claims of the islets in the West Philippine Sea mirrors the true measure of good leadership and courage.

The president as Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) was the guest of honor and speaker during the graduation rites for the 129 Philippine Military Academy (PMA) "Pudang-Kalis" Class of 2013.

The class is the third PMA batch Aquino delivered his address as the president of the Philippines since he won the elections in 2010.

Aquino's stress on the value of dialogues among parties with opposing or discordant claims in an issue was due to the recent results of the so-called "Sabah stand-off" wherein both of the "Royal Force" of the Sultanate of Sulu and Malaysian troopers suffered casualties in intermittent armed skirmishess in that island.

"Naiisip ba nila ang kahihinatnan ng kanilang ginawa na pagpapadala ng tao doon na may dalang armas" (Did they realize the consequences of sending people in that area bearing firearms?)", he asked, in reference to whomsoever sent the armed groups to that part of Sabah island.

He said that peaceful solutions to disputes affecting the Philippines domestically or externally serves as the correct approach as evidenced by the recent success of his administration in bringing the stakeholders in the secessionist movement in Mindanao to agree and sign the terms of reference towards the forging of lasting settlement.

"Mariin at tapat na pag-uusap ay daan sa kalutasan sa ating problema at hindi ang paggamit ng dahas (Candid and sincere dialogue serves as the way in solving our problems and not through drastic action or force)," he said as to the claim of the Sultanate of Sulu over Sabah, whether their claim is legitimate or not.

"Hanggang nasa inyo ang pagtitiwala, at hanggang nasa inyo ang pab-ambag sa pangkalahatang kabutihan, tutuloy tayo sa katuparan ng ating mga pangarap (As long as you have the faith in the leadership, and as long as you share in the collective effort for the sake of the people, we march on to realize our dreams)," he said to the big applause to the audience to whom he revealed that there are now some who call for his leave from the office.

The other big applause of appreciation and laughter was with the president's humor of his receding here whereby he observed that the cadets have shorter hair than his.

The parents of the PMA Cadet Corps gave Aquino the standing ovation when after recognizing their sacrifices for their sons and daughters, he also pardoned all outstanding penalties of all the cadets in the academy.

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