BALANGA CITY, Bataan – A prominent human rights lawyer, Congressman Harry Roque, also presently a member of the 17th Congress of the Philippines representing the party list group KABAYAN or “Kabalikat ng mga Mamamayan,” was the guest speaker in a student congress organized by the Bataan Polytechnic State University (BPSU) in line with their week long activities in celebration of their 10th year anniversary as a university.
Atty. Roque and Congresswoman Geraldine Roman, 1st district of Bataan, who spoke on gender equality, were welcome by BPSU President Greg Rodis who said that this is a rare opportunity for their students to hear and meet well known personalities speak on trending issues like the Panatag Shoal.
In his speech, Congressman Roque said that Panatag Shoal or Scarborough Shoal also known as Bajo de Masinloc is just located between Macclesfield bank of Luzon Island in South China Sea, which is now the center of controversy with Pres. Duterte’s pronouncement that we are incapable of stopping China to build structures in the said island.
Atty. Roque explained that what Pres. Duterte was trying to say is that, “we cannot drastically stop China, but we are not giving up our entitlement over the said area in the sense that we are only avoiding to wage war with China.”
Congressman Roque reiterated that the Philippines is not giving up its claim of sovereignty over the Panatag Shoal and in fact is readying a protest to assert our territorial rights.
The BPSU students on the other hand have shown so much interest on the topic that they have so many questions during the open forum but were even amazed on how Cong. Roque answered all the questions satisfactorily. The students added that they enjoyed the discussions and were enlightened on how the government is handling the issue of the Panatag Shoal. They said that they want more of this kind of discussion hopefully with other interesting speakers like Congressman Harry Roque.