Pimentel: A strongly-worded diplomatic protest against China is in order

Published November 18, 2021, 4:39 PM

by Mario Casayuran

The Senate foreign relations committee on Thursday, Nov. 18 said the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) must send a strongly-worded protest against China.

Senator Aquilino Pimentel III, committee chairman, issued this statement after the Chinese Coast Guard water-cannoned last Tuesday local boats resupplying the BRP Sierra Madre in Ayungin Shoal in the West Philippine Sea (WPS).

‘’Diplomatic protest is in order,’’ Pimentel, a former Senate President, said.

‘’But since there has been “physical contact” (by water cannon) DFA should draft a strongly worded protest,’’ he stressed.

‘ ’We should remind all parties in the SCS/WPS (South China Sea/West Philippine Sea) to avoid physical contact at all costs because it is the physical contact that can lead to a slippery slope where and when we may not be able to control the spiraling out of control of the physical contacts and the counter measures,’’ he explained.

‘’The Executive branch (DND {Department of National Defense}, Coast Guard, etc.) should come up with a plan immediately on how to improve our presence in maritime features and areas that we claim so that the executive branch can extend assistance to all Filipinos wishing to avail of the benefits of the areas we are entitled to under international law. Protest. Patrol. Protect,’’ he added.

The Lacson/Sotto tandem earlier said that the continued interference of the Chinese Coast Guard in Philippine waters is an ominous sign that should be stopped immediately.

‘’We are not satisfied with just filing diplomatic protests (against China). We should have an alliance with militarily-strong countries,’’ Senator Panfilo M. Lacson, chairman of the Senate National Defense and Security committee, said.