By Argyll Cyrus Geducos
Malacañang confirmed that the Philippines has filed a diplomatic protest against China over its militarization and reclamation in the disputed West Philippine Sea.
Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque made the confirmation after Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano insisted that the Philippines has been filing “several dozens” of diplomatic protests against the actions of China, including the reported harassment to Philippine military forces by Chinese forces in Ayungin Shoal last May 11.
In a text message, Roque reiterated that President Duterte is not giving up the country’s rights to the disputed waters.
He also noted that the Philippines will be lodging its protests against China but without getting much public attention. He said that the Philippines has protested all incidents mentioned by the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA).
“PRRD will not sit on our rights and will never give away even an inch of territory. We will resort to all diplomatic initiatives including filing of diplomatic protests when warranted but without fanfare,” Roque said.
“Lahat as mentioned by SFA (All incidents as mentioned by the Secretary of Foreign Affairs),” he added.
Cayetano on Wednesday said that the Philippines has filed at least 50 diplomatic protests against China over the past two years but chose not to go public with the information since there are already talks between the two countries.
“We have been filing a diplomatic protest. But the critics want us to announce it loudly and to confront China each and every time to the media. That is not conducive through the ongoing talks,” he said.
“Several dozens [of it]. Maybe 50, 100. I have to count it over the past two years,” he added,” he added.
Amid calls for his resignation due to his supposed inaction on Chinese incursions in the disputed territories, Cayetano appealed to lawmakers to trust that his department would fight to protect the country’s interests.
“We’re not asking you to trust us blindly. We’re asking you to trust us because that is the work of diplomats. If you assign someone in your organization, may it be Magdalo, to do the negotiation, if you don’t trust him, replace him,” he said, addressing Magdalo Representative Gary Alejano.