Tolentino meets with PH envoy to China, DFA chief Manalo on WPS issues
MANILA, Philippines – Sen. Francis Tolentino confirmed on Tuesday that he had met with Philippine Ambassador to China Jaime FlorCruz and Foreign Affairs Secretary Enrique Manalo on Tuesday on the issue of the recent swarming of Chinese militia vessels in the Julian Felipe Reef in the West Philippine Sea.
In an ambush interview with reporters, Tolentino said they also discussed the scheduled Dec. 11 Christmas convoy of civilian ships to the BRP Sierra Madre at Ayungin Shoal.
“If you remember, we issued a statement to recall recall the Philippine ambassador to China, around two weeks ago. So when he [FlorCruz] cane, it was not a recall, but somewhat like a consultation with the Department of Foreign Affairs. He went with Secretary Manalo. But didn’t finish our talk because of the earthquake,” Tolentino said, speaking partly in Filipino.
He was referring to a magnitude 5.9 earthquake that hit Occidental Mindoro and shook parts of Luzon on Tuesday afternoon.
Tolentino revealed, however, that he asked FlorCruz what he had been hearing regarding the plans set to be acted upon by Beijing in time for the Christmas convoy in the West Philippine Sea.
Tolentino said he was worried about what China could do during this mission.
“I said they should prepare for December 11. Our problems could increase,” he said
“They might do something else. Because they have already done everything else — the laser beam, [water] cannoning — these are civilians with small boats. They shouldn’t do that.”
Tolentino said he was hoping to set another meeting with FlorCruz, considering that their discussions were interrupted by the quake.