China ‘practically bullying us,’ says Sotto on ‘harassment’ vs PH boats
MANILA, Philippines — China is “practically bullying us,” Senate President Vicente Sotto III said Wednesday after the Chinese Coast Guard continued its “harassment” of Philippine supply boats in the West Philippine Sea.
“I hate to say it but they’re practically bullying us, yung sinasabi ng presidente nila ‘di daw sila nambubully ng maliit na bansa, e sino binubully nila? Malaking bansa? Takot nga sila dun e,” Sotto said in an interview on CNN Philippines’ “The Source.”
“I think the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) has already sent strong-worded complaints on the matter that has happened, dapat alam na ng higher ups nila to na nangyayari na to. So pag ganyan pa rin, may mga pa-monitor monitor pa…alam nila ‘yan,” he added.
Philippine supply boats, which were earlier “blocked and water cannoned” by China on their way to deliver supplies to Filipino troops on board the BRP Sierra Madre in Ayungin Shoal, were harassed again.
According to Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, a Chinese Coast Guard ship in the vicinity sent a rubber boat carrying three persons near the BRP Sierra Madre and “took photos and videos” while supplies were being unloaded from the supply boats.
Nevertheless, the boats were able to complete their resupply mission, which was aborted last Tuesday, Nov. 16, when Chinese Coast Guard vessels blocked and fired water cannons at them when they approached the shoal.
Sense of the Senate
Sotto said he felt “irritated and sad” over the Nov. 16 incident, saying China should be “friendly” with its neighbors like the Philippines.
“They are supposed to be our neighbors. We should be friendly with our neighbors but what the Chinese Coast Guard is showing is that they do not have any regard for anything else except what they think is their property,” he added.
Sotto said it would be a “very good idea” to come up with a Senate resolution that would express the sense of the chamber to back up the sentiment of the DFA against the incident.
“I think we should come up with a sense of the Senate, it would probably back up the statements made by the DFA or the letters that they have sent them,” the Senate president said.
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