FORMER Speaker Jose de Venecia Jr. has called for the expansion of Dagupan’s Bangus Festival into a “South China Sea Festival” that will also have China and Vietnam as active participants.
Speaking to newsmen on the sidelines of the Dagupan Street Party or “Kalutan ed Dalan”, De Venecia said if China, Vietnam and the Philippines would join the Bangus Festival, “this could be part of the solution to the conflict in the area” that the Philippines refers to as the West Philippine Sea.
“We will convert crisis into opportunities,” he said. “If eventually if we can invite representatives of China and Vietnam to attend the Dagupan Bangus Festival, we can help ease the conflict in the South China Sea,” added De Venecia, who is President Rodrigo Duterte’s special envoy to the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum.
“We first invite ambassadors of our neighboring countries to attend the Bangus Festival, “said De Venecia, also the president’s envoy on Inter-Cultural dialogue.
This is because any formula in the South China Sea will also be the formula in solving the crisis in the East China Sea between China and Japan over the Shenkaku Strait, which the Chinese call the Daiyo Strait, he added.
“In short, the solution is joint exploration and development approach in the East China Sea as well as in the South China Sea,” said De Venecia, noting further that Dagupan, especially Bonuan, is the front line of the South China Sea.
He said “the South China Sea was given to us by God to be shared by the Philippines, China, Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei and even Taiwan”.
“The Sea belongs to all of us and therefore there should be no conflict. We should share the wealth of the China Sea,” he said.
This is the reason for his proposal for a joint exploration and development in the area in the spirit of the Dagupan Bangus Festival.
This was how the Europeans solved problems in the Atlantic Ocean through the joint exploration for oil and natural gas in the North Sea among Great Britain, Norway, France, Germany and the Netherlands.
In the North Sea, he said, the oil drilled goes to Norway and England and the natural gas goes to Germany. That is the way the oil and gas in the South China Sea should go—to China, the Philippines and Vietnam, and even to Malaysia and Brunei.
“That’s what I meant by joint exploration and development and one of the keys to this is the Bangus Festival of Dagupan.” (Leonardo Micua)
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