Recently, political columnist Mortz C. Ortigoza of Northern Watch interviewed former Philippines 5-Time Speaker Jose de Venecia on the pressing issues that caused jittery to the world on the aggressive reclamation and arbitrary possession of islands and reefs by Mainland China being claimed too by other countries at the South China Sea (SCS). De Venecia, known as a political connoisseur, is the founding chairman and co-chairman of the International Conference of Asian, Political Parties (ICAPP). Excerpts:
NORTHERN WATCH (NW): In the book of Bill Hayton’s South China Sea you mentioned at the 3rd Congress of the International Conference of Political Parties in Beijing in 2004 that “we should not allow regional differences” on the problems in the Spratly Islands.
It mentioned there that at your behest the Department of Energy under Undersecretary Eduardo Manalac signed with Mainland China a joint maritime seismic undertaking.
In case you became the Prime Minister on that time, do you think this crisis at the Spratly and Scarborough Shoals between China and the Philippines would not happen?
VIDEO: PH 5-time House Speaker and political connoisseur Joe de Venecia on South China Sea, China alienating U.S, Japan, Philippines, Grace Poe as favorite Ph presidential bet, Rod Duterte as real package to salvage PH as economic basket case, etc. INTERVIEWER: PROF. MORTZ ORTIGOZA, Political Columnist.
JOSE DE VENECIA (JDV): We signed it already (chuckle). We signed already on the agreement and we had peace of normalcy on the South China Sea for three or four years!
NW: But if you are still with the government now do you think these brouhahas on the SCS would still be happening?
JDV: Well, first we should revived the agreement, continue with the seismic agreement, preparatory drilling of the hydro carbon potential there. And then after that even before that we agree on the equitable project sharing. “Philippines this is your share, China this is your share, Vietnam this is your share, Malaysia you’re farther away, Brunei you’re father away this is your share. Everybody agrees together with Taiwan - okay, let’s start drilling. During the time of drilling, we’ll invite the Americans to drill for us. We invite the Europeans to drill for us, or we can ask the Chinese, because they have so many oil rigs and some of the largest rigs in Asia and the world will ask China, you do conduct the drilling for us. So aside from your share and the hydro carbon, you will get another specific fee for the drilling the wells, which we will be paying anyhow to the Europeans or to the Americans.
NW: Like the German, Norwegian, and the British formula at Ecofisk in the North Seas?
JDV: Ya ya.
NW: In 2011, former Dagupan City Mayor Benjie S. Lim told me at his office that before the 2007 national election between you and him, people from the United States Embassy visited him at the mayor’s office encouraging him to run and defeat you for a congressional seat. He said the U.S is afraid you become Speaker and later Prime Minister (of the Philippines thru amendment of the Constitution JDV mulls on that time) because you’re too friendly with the Chinese. What’s your take on that?
JDV: That’s a complete nonsense. The U.S, the U.S in Vietnam during the war I was the (Philippines) economic councillor in Vietnam. Now, I’ve been invited to deliver speech in Washington DC.
NW: Do you think the brinkmanship done by China at the South China Sea would have economic repercussion on her because it alienated Japan, Japan is militarily supporting the Philippines and Vietnam by giving armaments, Malaysia has been smarting on China, do you think someday these countries would no longer invest in China and would instead strengthened their trade relations with each other?
JDV: The continuing crisis is a minus definitely not a plus. It would lead to an explosion that we don’t want. Nobody’s want (that) just like the Cold War, you know. We can cite Europe, when the Berlin Wall fell you see the U.S and the then Soviet Union normalized quickly their relationship.
All of these can be worked out by complicated diplomacy. You give mutual respect to each other. You know we have a thousand years of friendship with China.
NW: What’s the game plan of China on her patent aggressiveness on reclaiming reefs and islets at the SCS? It offended the U.S, the South East Asian members that have claimed there, too, and Japan.
JDV: They have their own initiative for their own country. But at a certain point of time when diplomacy comes into play and be successful these structures where small airfields small naval stations (are built there) would become a tourism site, would become complexes. So it is like an island subject in the war in the Pacific in World War II all of them are tourism site. So ganoon lang iyon (that was it) because each country is too proud to say let’s sit down. But the Philippines should sit down. Let’s hold a ceasefire, let’s have back channelling where we should have formal dialogue.
NW: Now that the U.S and Japan – both first world countries – are aiding the Philippines, and assailed China’s intrusion of the SCS, do you think China would stop their reclamation and possession of islets and reefs at SCS and Scarborough Shoals?
JDV: You know this mutual incrimination as mutual conduct will not (do good) kasi pataasan ng ihi iyan (that’s braggadocio). It will only stop. There is a call of mutual dialogue a mutual unilateral or bilateral conferences and then we just put our cards on the table and say...
Another formula is important. We suspend the issue of sovereignty, which I proposed on 1986 and 1987. Which was the formula of Deng Xiaoping, the Chinese leader, the prime Chinese leader. In other words, we don’t say I owned this, you own this wala iyan. We just agree. Let’s sit together on this area. Let’s partition equitably the profit. Sabi ni (said by) Deng Xiaoping as to who will be the owner who will govern the island let the future generation decide sabi ni (said by) Deng Xiaoping. I have three heroes in Asia, Deng Xiaoping, Lee Kuan Yew of Singapore, Mahathir of Malaysia.
My formula which was approved by these nations is part of the Deng Xiaoping formula.