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Sunday, July 14, 2024

Diplomatic protest vs China eyed–Cayetano

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Manila is ready to take “diplomatic action” against Beijing if reports of Chinese military planes in Panganiban Reef are confirmed, Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Cayetano said.

Panganiban Reef, also known as Mischief Reef, is within the country’s exclusive economic zone in the West Philippine Sea.

“It may include [a diplomatic protest]. It depends when and how,” he said.

“We have to wait for the military to verify. We do know that there are activities taking place,” Cayetano added.

As this developed, two opposition lawmakers said the government should already file a diplomatic protest against Beijing as they condemned its continued militarization of the West Philippines Sea.

“China is obviously flexing its military muscle and endangering the fragile peace in the West Philippine Sea.This is highly condemnable and the Philippines should protest this provocative Chinese action,” Bayan Muna Rep. Carlos Zarate said.

Zarate said China’s action was a clear violation of the Permanent Court of Arbitration ruling in Hague, The Netherlands.

“The Duterte administration should be taken to task for not doing anything on this blatant violation of our sovereignty. The Philippine government should not take this sitting down,” Zarate said.

“We are calling on the Filipino people here and abroad to protest this newest affront of China to our sovereignty,” he added.

For his part, Magdalo Rep. Gary Alejano said China’s action must not be taken lightly by the Philippine government.

“It is [only] a matter of time before the Chinese deploy their fighter aircraft in their reclaimed islands as part of their strategic objective of controlling South China Sea. We should not be deceived by China’s pronouncements that it will not militarize South China Sea,” Alejano said.

Alejano said he hopes President Duterte will take drastic action against China to assert the Philippines sovereign right on WPS.

“I am hoping that [President Rodrigo] Duterte file a diplomatic protest this time around unlike before where government officials were reduced to spokespersons of China by justifying Chinese aggressive actions in South China Sea,” Alejano said.

For his part, outgoing Armed Forces of the Philippines chief-of-staff Gen. Rey Guerrero expressed hopes that operations aimed at improving the country’s internal and maritime security would continue as he formally stepped down from office yesterday.

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