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AFTER PUBLIC UPROAR OVER REMARK THAT JULIAN FELIPE REEF WAS NEVER IN POSSESSION OF PH

Locsin’s last warning: DFA ‘has exclusive remit’ on PH foreign affairs

/ 09:23 PM May 11, 2021
Locsin's last warning: DFA 'has exclusive remit' on PH foreign affairs

Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. FILE PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines — Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. issued on Tuesday a stern “last warning” that his agency – the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) – “has the exclusive remit” over the country’s international relations.

This comes after the DFA responded to media queries on the remark of presidential spokesman Harry Roque, who said that Julian Felipe (Whitsun) Reef is not within the Philippines’ exclusive economic zone (EEZ). The DFA told reporters that its stand on the issue concerning Julian Felipe Reef is “unchanged.”

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“This is my last warning. When it comes to foreign affairs the Department of Foreign Affairs has the exclusive remit,” Locsin said in a tweet on Tuesday night.

“I don’t come from diplomacy; I come from a life that settled the hash of a lotta people who talked tough and ended up biting dirt. I don’t talk, I deal,” he added.

The foreign affairs chief did not mention any names but in a Palace briefing earlier Tuesday, Roque belittled the parking of Chinese ships at Julian Felipe Reef, saying the matter was merely “bloated” because the area had “never” been in the possession of the Philippines.

Roque further claimed that the reef is not even in the country’s EEZ. The lingering presence of Chinese vessels near the reef, however, was the subject of numerous diplomatic protests recently lodged by the DFA.

“Last word on this is [DFA’s] and no one else…Ask no one outside,” Locsin also said in a separate, now-deleted tweet.

Screengrab from Twitter

“If I want ignorance I’ll ask for it. Nail it on the door of San Augustine. And that will be that. Or I’m taking a pistol and that’s not a figure of speech,” he added.

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Meanwhile, in a reply to the media, DFA said: “At the moment, the DFA statements on the JFR (Julian Felipe Reef) issue remain unchanged.”

To recall, DFA statements released in April stated that the Julian Felipe Reef is “part of the Kalayaan Island Group and lies in the Exclusive Economic Zone of the Republic of the Philippines.”

READ: PH warns China of diplomatic protest for ‘every day of delay’ to pull out ships from WPS

The reef, according to the DFA, is located 175 nautical miles west of Batarza town in Palawan, and well within the 200-nautical mile EEZ rule of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea. or UNCLOS.

Roque, in the same briefing, nevertheless said the Philippines is still claiming the Julian Felipe Reef.

READ: Palace: Julian Felipe Reef was never in PH possession

“It doesn’t weaken anything kasi hindi naman natin gini-give-up iyong claim natin to Julian Felipe pursuant to Marcos appending Julian Felipe into the territory of the Philippines. That is our evidence of effective occupation,” Roque said.

He was referring to former President Ferdinand Marcos’ decree declaring Julian Felipe Reef as part of the Kalayaan Group of Islands.

KGA
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TAGS: DFA, EEZ, Foreign affairs, Foreign Policy, Harry Roque, Julian Felipe Reef, Teodoro Locsin Jr., Whitsun
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