By Wilnard Bacelonia

MISMATCH. A Philippine Coast Guard escort vessel (foreground) is blasted with water cannon by the Chinese Coast Guard during the rotation and reprovisioning of troops for BRP Sierra Madre in Ayungin Shoal on March 5, 2024. In a radio interview Monday (March 11), Senator Imee Marcos on called for restraint and more dialogues amid tensions in the West Philippine Sea. (Photo courtesy of AFP Facebook)

MANILA – Senator Imee Marcos on Monday emphasized the importance of upholding independent foreign policy through restraint and more dialogues amid tensions in the West Philippine Sea (WPS).

In a radio interview, the presidential sister said no one should bring up or discuss war and conflict.

“Huwag tayo masyadong maanghang magsalita kung puros daldal lang. Eh mainam, tiisin natin kahit nakakapikon at makipag-usap nang maayos sa lahat ng lebel. Sa Coast Guard level, military, cabinet, Senate, hanggang sa Pangulo (We must not throw tirades. We should practice restraint and dialogue in all levels even if it is frustrating. In the Coast Guard level, military cabinet, Senate, up to the President),” she said.

Marcos, chair of the Senate Foreign Relations committee, also pointed out that the Philippines should focus on strengthening its defense and military capabilities instead of taking sides with either the United States or China.

“Pagtibayin na natin ang ating self-reliance defense posture. Talagang palakasin natin ‘yung sarili nating sandatahang lakas (Let us boost our self-reliance defense posture and really strengthen our own armed forces),” she said.

The Committee on National Defense and Security chaired by Senator Jinggoy Estrada is currently in discussions with counterparts in the House of Representatives to reconcile the disagreeing provisions of Senate Bill 2455 and House Bill 9713 or the Self-Reliant Defense Posture Revitalization Act (SRDP).

The SRDP bill aims to ensure adequate defense assets and hardware for the country through domestic production and manufacturing, development of a national defense industry and lessening dependence on foreign and overseas suppliers. (PNA)