The chairman of the Senate’s national defense committee is apparently irritated over the continued rejection by China of a United Nations (UN) arbitral ruling voiding its historical claim over most parts of South China Sea, including the West Philippine Sea (WPS).
Senator Panfilo M. Lacson, committee chairman, said on Tuesday, April 6, that diplomatic protests “may not be too helpful anymore” since China continues to ignore them.
‘’Further, while it is a standard document used to call the attention of the other party, China’s consistent attitude of taking for granted such action taken by the DFA (Department of Foreign Affairs) reduces it to a mere point of information,” he added.
‘’Perhaps China would not be so dismissive if we and our allies, both in the Asia-Pacific and the West, show we can band together to maintain a balance of power in the region, including the West Philippine Sea,” Lacson reiterated.
China has extensive territorial claims in the East and South China Seas that has prompted security concerns also from the United States as well as Japan. In 2016, the UN Permanent Court of Arbitration scrapped China’s sweeping “nine-dash-line” claim over the South China Sea.
Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo earlier warned of ‘’unwarranted hostilities’’ over Chinese boats and that ‘’we can negotiate on matters of mutual concern and benefit. He, however, said: “Make no mistake about it- our sovereignty is non-negotiable.”
Opposition Sen. Francis ‘’Kiko’’ N. Pangilinan also said in press statement on Monday: ‘’We fully support the statement of Secretary (Delfin) Lorenzana that China should put an end to their dubious and illegal claim over the Philippine exclusive economic zone (EEZ) and sovereign waters.”
China should get its militia vessels out of the Julian Felipe reef in the WPS, Pangilinan added.
Instead of heeding Lorenzana’s call, China simply dispersed its vessels to adjoining reefs and did not leave the WPS.
Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon said it is high time for the Philippines to stand up to China’s continued incursions in the WPS.