By Hannah Torregoza
Senate minority leader Franklin Drilon on Sunday said the Philippine government should continue raising its territorial dispute with China over the West Philippine Sea (WPS) with the United Nations (UN), noting that bilateral talks is clearly not an effective way to stop Beijing’s bullying tactics.
“We should continue exerting international pressure. Ibig sabihin, dalhin natin ito sa UN assembly, ihayag natin. Ito’ hindi lang isang banggaan. Sa akin, ito’y nagpapakita ng mindset ng China na apihin ang Pilipinas dahil sa ating claims sa (This means, raising it before the UN assembly, let’s raise this. This is not a simple collision incident. To me, this is a manifestation of China’s mindset to oppress the Philippines due to our claims in the) West Philippine Sea,” Drilon said in an interview over Dobol B, GMA News TV.
“Sinasabi nila na amin ito, hindi kayo pwedeng mangisda dahil teritoryo namin ito. (They are saying this is ours, you cannot conduct fishing activities here because this is our territory). It should be taken in that context,” he further said.
“Hindi lang isolated incident, sa akin ito’y nagiging pattern ng pang-aapi at pambu-bully nitong China (This is not just an isolated incident, to me this is already a pattern of China’s abuse and bullying),” he pointed out.
Besides, he said if China is a sincere friend and ally of the Philippines, it should have released the names of the crew, including the captain’s name, aboard the Chinese vessel that rammed the Philippine’s fishing vessel.
“Because if that is a militia vessel, that means the government (of China) is directly involved. That’s a different story. That’s why, for me, one of the remedy here is for China to release the names of the boat captain. They should include in their explanation the names of the crew on board so we would know whether this is commercial or militia,” Drilon stressed.
“An apology would be well taken,” he added.
Drilon, likewise, rejected the notion that the international community can be bought, reacting to the Foreign Affairs Secretary Teddy “Boy” Locsin, Jr.’s post on Twitter.
“I’m sure a lot of people do not agree on that statement. The UN and the international community are a respected body, because if it’s not, a lot of other countries should have pulled out from them,” the minority chief said.
“For the stability and peace in the WPS, many countries should be involved in the discussion. Just mere dialogues between China and Philippines won’t work. Everyone should be involved in disputes and talk about this,” Drilon reiterated.