In the Best Interest of the Filipinos

Manila Bulletin, March 15, 2008 | Go to article overview

In the Best Interest of the Filipinos


Byline: Florangel Rosario Braid

THE breakfast meeting between Chinese Communist Party officials led by CPC of China International Development Department Vice Minister Liu Hongcai and Liberal Party leaders, headed by its president, Senator Mar Roxas last Tuesday underscored the importance of transparency and accountability as well as the need for a negotiation strategy anchored on what constitutes the best interest of the Filipinos and the rule of law. This means holding our government officials accountable for anomalies or incompetence attendant to the two ongoing controversies - the NBN and the Spratlys, Roxas noted. The hearings on the ZTE broadband deal, and future hearings on the Spratlys are expected to ferret out the truth, improve and make transparent procedures in the procurement process, and examine whether indeed, there had been activities that tended to diminish our sovereign rights and other possible violations of the Constitution. We have to address these issues now as they are crucial, not only in maintaining our good relations with China, but even more important, to find solutions that is in the best interest of the country and our people.

The dialogue between the two leaders was frank and cordial. As Roxas explained to the media, the Chinese officials would like to ensure that our diplomatic relations would not be strained by commercial transactions. China respects our country's rules and regulations and on this issue, Vice Minister Liu assured the LP delegation of the strict policy of Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao and the CPC that "all Chinese firms must strictly abide by the domestic laws in the country where they operate." The Chinese premier had said earlier that corruption is one of the biggest threats to the legitimacy and survival of the Communist Party of China.

Both Roxas and Vice Minister Liu hope to see the South China seas become a zone of cooperation, prosperity, and peace. It is however unfortunate, Roxas noted, that the Chinese delegation was met by media reports about the Spratlys controversy. But this, he said, is an issue that must be examined dispassionately. He also explained that here are other claimants to the area and that our interest is to live together like good neighbors -- co-exist peacefully, as we try to search for mutually beneficial solutions. …

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