Locsin orders filing of protest over Chinese vessels in West Philippine Sea

15-May-2021 Intellasia | PhilStar | 5:02 AM Print This Post

With the recent sighting of at least 287 Chinese maritime militia vessels and warships in Philippine waters, Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. ordered yesterday the filing of another diplomatic protest against China.

He also reprimanded the National Task Force on the West Philippine Sea (NTF-WPS) for issuing a press release on the development instead of informing him about it first.

Locsin announced on Twitter the filing of another diplomatic protest after the NTF-WPS reported on Wednesday the presence of 287 Chinese militia ships across the West Philippine Sea despite increased Philippine patrols and the filing of multiple diplomatic protests by Manila.

“@DFAPH fire diplomatic protest. Maybe these idiots will have learned the protocol next time. I took this up with the President in Davao. We have a disease: everybody and his uncle wants to be a hero fighting China from anonymity of a task force,” Locsin tweeted.

The secretary said the task force should explain why it made the announcement on the sightings instead of informing the DFA.

“First NTF-WPS will explain to me why it made a press release and did not inform DFA so the only news today would be DFA fires diplomatic protest over the presence of 287 Chinese vessels. S t,” Locsin said.

In a statement on Wednesday, National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon Jr., who also chairs the NTF-WPS, said the government is stepping up sovereignty patrols in the country’s territorial waters to address the continuing incursions.

As of May 9, Esperon said a total of 287 Chinese vessels remained scattered across various features of the municipality of Kalayaan, both within and outside the exclusive economic zone (EEZ) of the Philippines.

Based on reports of maritime patrols, two Chinese maritime militia (CMM) ships and two Houbei Class Missile warships were inside Panganiban (Mischief) Reef, one CMM was in Lawak (Nanshan) Island, 11 CMMs were operating approximately 29 nautical miles southwest of Recto (Reed) Bank and one CMM vessel was in Ayungin (Second Thomas) Shoal, where one Chinese Coast Guard (CCG) vessel was seen two days earlier.

The NTF said some 34 maritime militia ships continue to stay in Julian Felipe (Whitsun) Reef.

Wake-up call

Sen. Panfilo Lacson said the reported “return” of Chinese vessels should serve as wake-up call for Filipinos to unite and come up with one strong stand on the issue.

“We are not really surprised. In a way, we even anticipated the return of the Chinese vessels because the vessels that were in the area earlier were most likely just surveying. Their job was to scout the land and not yet occupy. Ngayon nagbalikan na (Now they’re back),” he said in an interview over dzBB radio.

He warned that if Filipinos and their top leaders continue to bicker on the issue, we may wake up one day to find garrisons on Sabina.

Lacson cited the feasibility of exploring “parliamentary to parliamentary” channels in resolving the issue.

He said other countries are willing to help the Philippines maintain a balance of power in the WPS area because they have their own national interests to pursue.

“They are more than willing to pursue their respective national interests. International trade is involved here,” he said.

Meanwhile, newly appointed Philippine National Police chief Gen. Guillermo Eleazar said he would order the deployment of PNP personnel in the West Philippine Sea to help secure the country’s EEZ.

“Despite our limitations when it comes to resources, we will make sure that it will not discourage and prevent us from asserting and fighting for what is ours,” he said in a statement.

“It’s good to have many personnel and authorities there so we can show that we’re united in fighting for our rights in the West Philippine Sea,” he said.

https://www.philstar.com/headlines/2021/05/14/2098104/locsin-orders-filing-protest-over-chinese-vessels-west-philippine-sea

 

Category: Philippines

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