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DFA urged: File protest vs China’s ‘bullying’ of TV crew in Panatag

By: - Reporter / @deejayapINQ
/ 05:30 AM November 24, 2018

Senators on Friday called on the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) to file a diplomatic protest against China following a recent incident in which the Chinese Coast Guard blocked a Filipino TV news crew from filming in Panatag (Scarborough) Shoal.

The Chinese patrol claimed the Filipinos were encroaching on the “sea area of the People’s Republic of China.”

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“Those are clearly acts of aggression,” opposition Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV said of the incident in a text message. “The DFA must file a diplomatic protest about the matter.”

Sen. Francis Pangilinan said the government’s response should be strong in the face of such a provocation.

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Assaults on sovereignty

“The government should file a diplomatic protest and not simply be as meek as a lamb in the face of these assaults on our sovereignty,” he said.

Sen. Joseph Victor Ejercito said he was not pleased by China’s actions. “I am against the bullying by China ever since,” he said.

A diplomatic protest is in order, according to Sen. Joel Villanueva. “In fact, this is a good opportunity for us to emphasize our claims to the West Philippine Sea,” he said.

Sen. Juan Edgardo Angara said the country should “look for diplomatic ways to discuss and settle these issues and uphold the rights of our citizens” in the country’s 370-kilometer exclusive economic zone.

Without permission

On Thursday, GMA-7 network aired the news documentary “Reporter’s Notebook” showing the incident on Nov. 8, when members of the Chinese Coast Guard prevented its crew from conducting interviews in Panatag Shoal.

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“Without the permission of China, you cannot carry out the interview here,” an English-speaking Coast Guard officer told reporter Jun Veneracion.

The officer said the news team was in the “sea area of the People’s Republic of China” and the Filipino crew needed permission from China.

“But this is within the exclusive economic zone of the Philippines,” Veneracion replied, prompting the officer to warn they would take forceful action.

Panatag Shoal, located 230 km west of Masinloc, Zambales, has been under the control of the Chinese since 2012, though China has allowed Filipinos to fish again in the area as a result of warming ties with the Philippines.

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