Hontiveros condemns Chinese Coast Guard’s treatment of Filipino TV news crew
Senator Risa Hontiveros condemned the behavior of the members of the Chinese Coast Guard who drove away a Filipino TV news crew from the Panatag Shoal, saying that it will serve as a “litmus test” for the new leadership of the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA).
“This is precisely the kind of bullying that other countries dealing with China have faced, and this is precisely the arrogance that we have warned this government about,” Hontiveros said in a statement on Monday.
The opposition senator said the fact that the incident happened in Panatag Shoal, within the 200 nautical mile Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) of the country, “is clear evidence not only of China’s arrogance, but also the failure of President Rodrigo Duterte to exercise the political will and imagination” to enforce the arbitral ruling in 2016 which recognized Philippine sovereignty over the West Philippine Sea.
“Without a doubt, President Duterte’s policy on China is not only not working, but completely submissive to his Chinese master,” she said.
“The incident happened as a result of the administration’s defeatist foreign policy and its virtual capitulation to China’s interests,” she added.
Hontiveros then challenged the new leadership of the DFA, which she said “has arguably more gravitas than the previous one.”
“Will it find the courage to assert our sovereignty and territorial integrity or will it continue the cowardly and defeatist foreign policy and fake diplomatic protests of its predecessor?” she asked.
The footage of the incident aired on GMA-7’s Reporter’s Notebook was recorded on November 8, a few days before the two-day visit of Chinese President Xi Jinping to the country.
It showed that as the TV crew approached the shoal, two speed boats of the Chinese Coast Guard advanced towards the local fishing boat carrying the TV crew.
“Without the permission of China, you cannot carry out the interview here,” a smiling member of the Chinese Coast Guard told journalist Jun Veneracion.
The Philippines and China are locked in a longstanding maritime dispute over the South China Sea with Beijing claiming nearly the entire South China Sea, including parts of the WPS.
The Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague invalidated China’s claims in a July 2016 ruling that favored the Philippines’ rights over the area, which China refused to recognize.
Duterte, meanwhile, has opted to shelve the landmark decision and instead engage China in bilateral talks. /ee
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