By: Nikko Dizon / April 10, 2016 / INQUIRER.NET
PILAR, Bataan—President Benigno Aquino III on Saturday emphasized the need for unity among nations in these times of conflict and uncertainty, saying apathy ultimately leads to the detriment of the people.
Mr. Aquino led the 74th commemoration of the Day of Valor held at Mt. Samat Shrine in Bataan, his last as President.
“What is the most important lesson we learned from World War II? It is clear: During times of chaos and disorder, any free country—even those who aren’t part of either side engaged in conflict—cannot stand idly by or remain quiet,” the President said in his speech.
“If we do not address the root of the problem, then we will certainly reach a point where the problem will worsen, until we reach the point where no country can avoid it,” he said.
“All nations live in, and share, one world, which is why the problems of one become the problems of all.”
“All nations live in, and share, one world, which is why the problems of one become the problems of all. If there are challenges in other parts of the world, however far away, we must still participate and contribute to the solution. If we allow these challenges to grow, then, in the end, we will only be affected by their negative effects,” he said.
Mr. Aquino cited the recent terrorist attacks in Europe, rooted in the conflict in the Middle East—the civil war in Syria, which gave rise to the Islamic State jihadist group and the refugee crisis.
South China Sea row
But the President might as well be alluding to the Philippines’ territorial dispute with China in the South China Sea, about which US Ambassador to the Philippines Philip Goldberg was categorical in his own speech.
For the past six years, Mr. Aquino has campaigned for a multilateral approach to resolving the dispute, tirelessly asking the 10-member Association of Southeast Asian Nations to get China to agree to a binding code of conduct in the disputed waters.
President Aquino also brought the dispute to the United Nations for arbitration. A decision by the UN Permanent Court of Arbitration is expected in the coming weeks.
China has sharply criticized the Philippines for trying to draw other countries into the dispute.
But the United States, which sees China’s expansionist ambitions in the South China Sea as a threat to peace and stability in the region, is strengthening its security ties with the Philippines, Japan and Australia, and has called on Beijing to cease destabilizing actions in the disputed waterway and respect the UN tribunal’s decision. Read more…