PH might lose claim in South China Sea, warns De Lima
The Philippines might lose its territorial claim in the South China Sea (West Philippine Sea) by “default” if the country would continue “kowtowing” to China, detained Senator Leila de Lima warned on Monday.
“The real potential threat is staring us in the face, and government’s indecisiveness in dealing with this threat that China brings to our national security could lead us to a tipping point where we could lose our rights to these maritime territories by default,” De Lima said in a hand written statement from detention.
“We should neither wait indecisively, nor continue kowtowing to China, while China continues to chip away at our rights and on our hold on these territories. At the very least, our leaders must demand respect from their Chinese counterparts,” she said.
The senator was reacting to the reported harassment of Chinese Navy that allegedly fired warning shots last April 9 to drive Filipino fishermen away from Union Bank in the heavily disputed Spratly archipelago in the South China Sea.
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De Lima, a member of the Senate minority bloc, called the incident a “worrisome development.”
“The attack by a Chinese naval vessel (apparently a navy ship, and not a coast guard vessel), as confirmed by Rep. Gary Alejano after interviewing the fishermen, is a worrisome development,” she said.
The senator was referring to Magdalo Rep. Gary Alejano, a former Marine officer, who claimed that it was China’s Navy, and not its Coast Guard that fired the warning shots at the Union Bank.
“This incident mirrors China’s newfound daring and boldness to discard of the conventional coast guard actions in enforcing its territorial claims. Such escalates the situation in the Spratlys, and should be strongly condemned by the Philippine government,” De Lima added.
De Lima has been detained at the Philippine National Police Custodial Center for drug charges./ac
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