Senator Ramon “Bong” Revilla Jr. has also started questioning China’s sincerity as an ally to the Philippines for its repeated incursions in the West Philippine Sea (WPS).
“Ang tunay kasing magkaibigan ay naggagalangan, binibigyan ng payo at tumatanggap ng payo para magkaintindihan, pero sa kabila ng ating pakiusap ay nakararanas pa rin tayo nang panlalamang, ay hindi na ito tamang pakikipagkaibigan (True friends respect each other, give and take advice to better understand each other, but despite our pleas we are still being taken advantage of. This is not proper friendship),” Revilla said in a statement Sunday, May 16.
Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. ordered the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) to file anew another diplomatic protest against China for the presence of at least 287 Chinese vessels in the Philippines’ exclusive economic zone (EEZ), as reported by the National Task Force on the WPS (NTF-WPS) last week.
Revilla said it is “high time for the Philippines to assess its friendship with China, which has repeatedly violated our sovereign rights”.
He further said that “if China indeed considers us a friend, it should show us respect”, and that its incursion in the Philippine territory “is clear show of disrespect”.
The administration ally said the Philippines should reconsider its diplomatic ties with China.
“Sa paulit-ulit na madiplomasyang protesta na inihain na natin at hindi talaga nila pinapansin ay maliwanag na kaibigan natin ang China pero hindi nila tayo itinuturing na kaibigan (Since it has ignored our repeated diplomatic protests, it is clear that China does not treat us as a friend),” Revila said.
In his statement, Revilla also said that President Duterte’s latest statements should quell doubts about the government’s stance about the territorial dispute with China.
Duterte, in his recorded speech aired last Friday, May 14, said he will not withdraw Philippine ships from the WPS even if China kills him.
Revilla said he supports Duterte’s remarks since “West Philippine Sea is ours no matter how China twists it”.