Akbayan Senator Risa Hontiveros described President Rodrigo Duterte’s foreign policy on China as “doormat foreign policy.
The senator asked in a released statement, “how long will the Duterte government play doormat to China and its interests?”
“Huwag sana tayong pumayag na gawin tayong doormat at yurakan ang ating soberanya ng kahit sinong bansa, lalo na ng mga bansang tinuturing nila na kaibigan,” Hontiveros said.
She is also calling on the government to strongly protest the latest incursion of Chinese warships in Philippine waters.
“While the Sibutu strait is considered an international waterway where the commercial vessels’ right of innocent passage is upheld, the unannounced entry of Chinese armed warships into our territory is unacceptable, especially if China requires foreign warships to inform it of their presence before passing through its waters,” Hontiveros said.
“We must not allow China to get away with its double standards. The Duterte government must put its foot down and officially bring this matter before the Chinese government,” Hontiveros added.
The senator noted that National Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said that Chinese ships should have activated their automatic identification system (AIS) while passing through Philippine waters, so that authorities will be aware of their presence.
“While the President tried to explain why he has failed to uphold our sovereignty in the West Philippine Sea during his latest State of the Nation Address, it is clear that his approach is not working well. His words and actions seem to have emboldened, rather than mitigated, Chinese aggression and bullying in our seas,” Hontiveros said.
Hontiveros challenged the Duterte administration to take more steps towards peacefully enforcing its rights over its territorial waters – which was upheld by the historic Hague ruling in 2016 – in a manner consistent with international laws.
She added that Supreme Court Associate Justice Antonio Carpio’s proposals on how to manage China’s activities in the West Philippine Sea should be seriously considered.