While he did not sign the Senate resolution asking China to cease its activities in the West Philippine Sea, Senator Manny Pacquiao said he had personally written the Chinese embassy “asking for their immediate withdrawal in the area.”
The boxer-turned-politician issued the statement to dispel claims that he deliberately refused to sign Senate Minority Leader Frank Drilon’s Senate Resolution 708 expressing the sentiments of the Senate “condemning the activities of the People’s Republic of China in the exclusive economic zone of the Philippines and other parts of the West Philippine Sea.”
“ Hindi naman na-media yung sulat ko sa Chinese Ambassador dahil personal letter ko yun,” Pacquiao said. His staff showed reporters a copy of the letter on his Viber thread.
He noted that he sent his letter two weeks before Drilon filed the resolution.
“I did not sign because I already had a letter pending before the Chinese Ambassador here,” Pacquiao said.
In the letter addressed to Chinese Ambassador to the Philippines Huang Xilian dated April 10, 2021, Pacquiao expressed his deep concern over “recent reports that at least 220 Chinese vessels remain in line formation at the Julian Felipe Reef.”
“The continuing presence of Chinese ships at the said reef, which is within the Philippines’ exclusive economic zone and continental shelf, only creates tension and harbors divisiveness in our region and evidently destabilizing to the international rule of law,” Pacquaio’s letter stated.
“In line with this, we reiterate our call to your government to promptly withdraw these vessels from our territory. We demand nothing less than for your country to respect our sovereignty,” the letter added.
Pacquiao told the Chinese government in his letter that instead of creating animosity with its neighbors, it should behave as a “unifying figure of regional solidarity.”