Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon said the continued excursion of Chinese vessels into Philippine territories should be raised during President Duterte’s meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping.
Drilon expressed alarm over the growing presence of Chinese vessels in the country’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ) and urged Senate to look into the issue.
“The presence of Chinese vessels into our territories is alarming. What is more alarming is that nobody knows what these ships are doing in our territory; even the government is clueless. They should not have crossed our EEZ in the first place. China must be made to explain,” said Drilon.
The minority leader also commended Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana for standing up to China.
Lorenzana expressed alarm over the presence of two survey ships operating in the country’s exclusive economic zone, prompting him to call the Department of Foreign Affairs to file a diplomatic protest.
“We commend the Secretary of Defense for all his actions to protect our territories and uphold our claim in the West Philippine Sea. We support him and the Filipino people should rally behind him,” Drilon said.
China’s growing aggressiveness should be properly dealt with, according to Drilon. The government must demand respect from its “friend” China.
The Chinese envoy to the Philippines, Zhao Jianhua, however, said that China’s position remains firm that it does not acknowledge the arbitration award by the Hague-based international tribunal.
To which Drilon responded: “All the more that the Philippine government must be more pro active in calling out China and in filing diplomatic protest against China. Whether China accepts the ruling or not, the Philippines should continue to fight for our rights by virtue of the arbitration award.”
The former justice secretary reiterated that non-action by the Philippine government could be viewed as acquiescence.
Thus, Drilon said that Lorenzana is on the right track by exposing Chinese’s bullying tactics and bringing the matter before the international community. SENATE.GOV.PH