FORMER President now Speaker of the House Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo sees no problem with any joint projects with China, including oil and gas exploration.
Arroyo also said that China should be the “uncle” or second father of other Southeast Asian Region especially the poor nation.
According to Arroyo, having joint projects with China will promote good economic ties and growth development.
“Ako, in general, pabor ako sa mga joint projects eh, because they foster friendship and cooperation. More or less ganun din ang aking approach noong ako’y president,” she said in an ambush interview.
Arroyo cited the case of Malaysia and Thailand which despite conflicting claims in the Gulf of Thailand maintain good relationship through several joint projects.
The Philippines and China both have claims territorial ownership in the Spratly Islands.
“So, talagang meron nang model na ganun sa buong mundo,” Arroyo stressed.
Meanwhile, Arroyo said the China being an economic superpower should be the “senior uncle” to “smaller” countries who have claims in the South China Sea.
“Dapat kasi, ako ha, itong mga away-away sa mga… or hindi naman away, mga differences in the region, and maganda diyan sana, ‘yung China i-consider niya ang sarili niya as the senior uncle sa maraming mga pamangkin,” she also said.
“‘Yung mga maliliit na bansa, sa isang pamilya, lahat ng miyembro ng pamilya ay meron silang tungkulin para sa ikinabubuti ng pamilya. So, ‘yun ang dapat maging attitude ng lahat,” she added.
Arroyo, a former President, had taken a pro-China stance in the past and has backed President Rodrigo Duterte’s bilateral talks with Asia’s superpower.
During his state visit last November 20-21 Chinese President Xi Jinping together with President Duterte witnessed the signing of 29 agreements between Beijing and Manila, which have been locked in a territorial dispute in the West Philippine Sea (WPS).