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Solon: Keep up the protest against ‘aggression’ from China

On Sunday, Ralph Recto, the deputy speaker of the House, said that the government must continue its diplomatic objections against China’s aggression and harassment in the West Philippine Sea (WPS).

Recto stated in a news release that “these Chinese transgressions in the WPS should be countered with fury at every stage since failing to do so would support Beijing’s strategy that the Philippines would eventually grow weary of objecting.

The congressman for the Batangas Sixth District argued that even if China does not respond, the Philippines must keep blowing the protest whistle.

“Even if we have to cover the Great Wall in diplomatic protests, we should keep going because the moment we exhibit even hesitance, things return to normal.”

Recto claims that the protest, whether from the government or the people, is like a “burglar alarm” that sounds when it is tipped and would alert everyone to China’s bad behavior.

It would be bad if we turned it off. Therefore, we must continue doing it, he said.

China’s recent “highly dangerous maneuvers” against the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) in the waters off Ayungin Shoal drew criticism from the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) on Friday.

Ma, a spokesman for DFA, issued a statement. Teresita Daza repeated Manila’s demand that China respects its rights under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea on the WPS.

The DFA will submit additional diplomatic protests in Beijing.

During a seven-day marine patrol in the WPS, the PCG sighted more than 100 claimed Chinese maritime militia vessels, a People’s Liberation Army Navy corvette, and two China Coast Guard vessels.

BRP Malapascua and BRP Malabrigo, two 44-meter PCG warships, were on patrol from April 18 to April 24 in the waters near Sabina Shoal, Iroquis Reef, Lawak, Patag, Likas, Parola, Pag-asa, Tizzard Bank, Julian Felipe Reef, and Ayungin Shoal, according to the PCG.

The DFA submitted 193 note verbales on WPS events with the Chinese embassy last year.

Senator Francis Tolentino, meantime, stated that while he supports an international consortium for oil exploration in the WPS, all efforts must adhere to the constitution.

China and the Philippines will start preliminary discussions on cooperative oil explorations next month.

Tolentino advised China to focus on the economic stability of the region rather than the Mutual Defense Treaty (MDT) with the United States Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement.

“Maunawaan nila ang 1951 MDT, wala pang climate change, wala pang cybercrime. They need to understand that when the MDT was signed in 1951, there was no such thing as cybercrime or climate change; these are things that they need to take into account as economic concerns) under the freedom of navigation),” Tolentino said in a radio interview on Sunday.

The senator is also pressing for a treaty amendment that would cover cyberattacks.

The MDT was signed without “altering or diminishing any existing agreements or understandings between the Republic of the Philippines and the United States of America” to “strengthen present efforts for collective defense for the preservation of peace and security pending the development of a more comprehensive system of regional security in the Pacific area.”

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