By Billy Begas
House Deputy Minority Leader and Bayan Muna Rep. Carlos Isagani Zarate said President Rodrigo Duterte should break his silence and denounce what China is doing in the West Philippine Sea (WPS).
Zarate said the diplomatic protests filed by the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) just continuously fall on China’s deaf ears.
“Filing of diplomatic protests or demarche, or, even summoning China’s ambassador to explain its continued incursions and occupation of maritime features in the West Philippine Sea may no longer be enough. China clearly does not accept accountability and even insisted that Julian Felipe Reef, which is clearly part of our exclusive economic zone (EEZ) is theirs,” Zarate said.
At best, Zarate said the diplomatic protests serves to merely register for the record the Philippine government’s position on these incursions.
“Pres. Rodrigo Duterte can, in fact, resort to UNCLOS and other treaty bodies to demand justice for what China is doing. Malacañang must assert the historic Permanent Tribunal ruling in 2016 and abandon now its so-called ‘soft-landing policy’ in its pivot to China,” the solon added.
Zarate said the Duterte government should now prioritize and advance the country’s own interests by pursuing “truly independent foreign policy that is equidistant from the competing imperialist interests of China and western powers led by the US.”