Stratbase ADR Institute chairperson, former foreign affairs secretary Albert del Rosario has said that a stronger and more strategic leadership from President Rodrigo Duterte, as the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), is needed in face of Chinese agression.
“We respectfully submit that the President follow the recent initiative of the WPS National Task Force, DND Secretary Lorenzana, DFA Secretary Locsin and some of our patriotic soldiers in asserting our country’s rights in the West Philippine Sea,” del Rosario said in a statement April 20.
“In the face of continuing aggression by China, we would like to see a stronger and more strategic leadership in our President, as Commander-in-Chief of our armed forces, to stand up for what is ours,” the former foreign affairs chief said.
We respectfully urged President Duterte to reject “Chinese narrative of war, because it is intended to scare countries to submit to China’s will of illegally occupying the South China Sea.”
“We also have not exhausted the options available to our country such as (1) raising the Arbitral Ruling again at the UN General Assembly this September 2021 to gather more support from other countries; and (2) under a multilateral approach, taking other concrete steps to consolidate support from our allies, which includes engaging in joint patrols in the West Philippine Sea to protect our waters,” he added.
“The President has already invoked the Arbitral Ruling that we won in The Hague at the 75th UNGA and the 37th ASEAN Summit last year. We do not see a war being waged by China against us. This should have put to rest the utterly inane notion that invoking the Arbitral Ruling and standing up for our rights are equivalent to waging war against China,” del Rosario said.
“Because we asserted our rights against China in Julian Felipe Reef, our allies in the world like the US and Japan supported our position against the massing of Chinese vessels. Moreover, the US, UK, France, Germany, Japan, and Australia have already formally supported the Arbitral Ruling,” he noted.