Villanueva warns against dismissing role of int’l community in resolving dispute in WPS

By Vanne Elaine Terrazola

Senator Joel Villanueva on Saturday warned the Philippine government against dismissing the international community's possible aid in resolving the latest dispute with China, particularly on the sinking of the Filipino fishing vessel in the Recto (Reed) Bank last June 9.

Sen. Joel Villanueva (Senate of the Philippines / MANILA BULLETIN) Sen. Joel Villanueva
(Senate of the Philippines / MANILA BULLETIN)

Villanueva issued the statement after Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. rejected calls to seek support from other countries following the incident in the Recto Bank, explaining that it is "too dangerous" as this might be used to their advantage later on.

"F*ck the international community. It can be bought. This is our fight and in the end, ours alone," the country's top diplomat also tweeted.

But Villanueva stressed the importance of the international community, citing that the distressed Filipino fishermen were rescued by Vietnamese boatmen after the Chinese vessel abandoned them at sea.

"We caution our officials from dismissing the value of the international community in sensitive diplomatic issues such as this incident. We thank our ASEAN neighbor, Vietnam, whose citizens did not think twice when they saw our Filipino fisherfolk in distress" he said.

Villanueva, while not specifying names in his statement, said that he was "puzzled" with how some of the country's officials responded to appeals to tap international help.

"When we see another human being in distress, we extend a helping hand regardless of the circumstance. Until today, we are puzzled by the actions of the Chinese fishing crew who rammed a Filipino fishing vessel and left behind our Filipino fisherfolk for dead," he said.

"The same can be said about the reaction of our officials who we expected to protect and promote the welfare of Filipinos being their representatives in government," he added.

Villanueva said that public officials should serve and prioritize the well-being of the Filipino people.

He maintained that the Philippines' has sovereign rights over the Recto Bank since it is part of its exclusive economic zone.

"We urge the government to protect what is rightfully ours," he appealed.