Senator Risa Hontiveros on Monday, March 22 called on the government
to file another diplomatic protest against China to signify the Philippines objection to the presence of 220 Chinese maritime militia vessels spotted in the West Philippine Sea.
Hontiveros scored the presence of these vessels as reported by the
Philippine Coast Guard (PCG), describing it a “severe provocation”
that only escalates tensions in the disputed maritime territory.
The senator said she supports the filing of diplomatic protests to
China over the matter, noting that while the country is battling a new
wave of COVID-19 cases, China is blatantly intruding in Philippine
“Not aggravating the tensions in our seas is the absolute least China
could have done in the middle of a global pandemic. Respeto nalang
sana, hindi pa maipakita (they can’t even show some semblance of
respect),” Hontiveros said in a statement.
The lawmaker reiterated China’s repeated incursions in the West
Philippine Sea do not build peace or stability in the ASEAN region.
She also pressed the Duterte administration to study more tangible
ways to make China pay for the environmental damage and the natural
resources that could be lost due to the presence of the vessels in
Julian Felipe Reef.
This reef, she pointed out, is within the Philippine’s Exclusive
Economic Zone (EEZ) and continental shelf.
“We have exclusive rights over the resources — fish, oil, and natural
gas — in Julian Felipe Reef. Atin lang dapat iyan pero pilit na naman
nang-aagaw ang Tsina ng mga bagay na hindi kanila. Nakakagalit (It
should only be ours but China is snatching things that are not theirs
in the first place. it’s infuriating),” Hontiveros pointed out.
“It’s maddening how China continues to snatch away our nation’s wealth
while we’re in the depths of an economic crisis,” the senator said.
Hontiveros further reiterated that China now owes Filipinos over
P800-billion in marine damage and losses due to its adventurism in the
WPS. She filed Senate Resolution No. 369 demanding that China pay the
country billions worth of reparations which could be used in the
country’s fight against COVID-19.
“China really has no plans of recognizing and respecting the 2016
Hague ruling that favors our country,” she said of the decision of the
international tribunal that invalidated China’s claim to 90 percent of
the South China Sea.
“Hindi na nakakatuwa ang patuloy na panggagahasa ng ating likas-yaman. Mag-ipon na ang Tsina kasi magbabayad sila (Their continuous raping of our natural resources is not funny. China should pool its resources
and pay),” she said.