Esperon: ‘Plenty’ of West Philippine Sea incidents recommended for diplomatic action
National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon Jr. said Friday he has recommended ‘plenty’ of incidents in the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea) for diplomatic action.
Esperon, who is also the chairman of Task Force West Philippine Sea, did not identify the specific incidents, but said there is no need to publicly condemn China’s activities in the South China Sea.
He also did not say what is the status of the said recommendations.
“Ang protesta ay hindi kailangang maingay. Ako mismo ang chairman ng National Task Force on the West Philippine Sea at marami na akong na-irekomenda for diplomatic actions,” he told reporters on the sidelines of a forum in Quezon City.
“Alam mo pag nagsalita ka tungkol sa China, protesta na rin yun. Pag Presidente na ang nagsalita tungkol dyan, protesta na rin yun. But we are trying to do in a very calm way hindi yung araw-araw makikipagsigawan ka dyan,” he said.
Esperon explained they are being “very careful” and “calibrated” in their responses in order to avoid an “instant flashpoint.”
“Meron namang mga mechanisms ngayon katulad ng bilateral consultative mechanism, the Asean code of conduct talks,” he said.
“Hindi natin gagawin yung magdedeploy tayo ng Navy ship, mas marami naman sa kabila,” he added.
The Department of Foreign Affairs has never disclosed the details of the protests on China’s activities they have supposedly filed despite criticisms from lawmakers and the public.
Acting Supreme Court Chief Justice Antonio Carpio earlier said that failure to formally protest China’s militarization means the Philippines is consenting to these actions, as well as to the Asian giant’s nine-dash line claims.
Just this week, President Rodrigo Duterte said he trusts that China will be fair on the sea dispute and Filipinos would eventually see them as a good neighbor.
“We will allow them the sufficient period to sort out things and I’m sure that in the end, China will be fair and the equity will be distributed…But in the days to come, we would realize that China, after all, is really a good neighbor,” he said.
A recent survey by the Social Weather Stations, meanwhile, showed that 4 out of 5 Filipinos are not satisfied with the government’s South China Sea policy. /muf
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