Envoy: Patience of PH on China ‘stretched to the limit’

Envoy: Patience of PH on China ‘stretched to the limit’

China's embassy condemns PH envoy's remarks on South China Sea

Philippine Ambassador to the US Jose Manuel Romualdez ANDREW HARNIK/POOL VIA REUTERS

WASHINGTON, DC — The Philippines’ envoy to Washington said the country’s patience over being harassed by Beijing in its own waters has now been “stretched to the limit,” amid protests on Tuesday against China’s aggression outside the Chinese consulate in Manila.

In a television interview ahead of the Philippines’ trilateral summit on Thursday with the United States and Japan, Jose Manuel “Babe” Romualdez said the Marcos administration had taken a “multilateral approach” on the maritime dispute in the West Philippine Sea.


READ: First US-Japan-PH summit to boost defense ties


The Philippines, he said, has been generally “accepting” of the situation in its own waters, including the blockade by China at Panatag (Scarborough) Shoal since a standoff in 2012.

“We have been very patient. The Philippines’ patience has been stretched to the limit,” said Romualdez.

‘Enough is enough’

“What President Marcos is doing is simply saying, ‘Enough is enough. We are going to talk to you seriously. We are not here because we want to have a conflict. We are not here because we are looking for a fight.’ We are the ones that are being aggressively bullied,” he added.

“We need to have some kind of muscle, for lack of any other word, to be able to implement what we have said, that we would protect our territory,” Romualdez stressed.

“We can’t continue to be like this. [Some] people have this wrong notion that we just sit back and nothing will happen to us. We may wake up one day and we won’t have a country anymore,” he warned.


Also on Tuesday, activists marked the Araw ng Kagitingan (Day of Valor) holiday with a protest outside the Chinese consulate in Makati City, as they condemned China’s aggression against the Philippines in the West Philippine Sea.

“China, leave!” the protesters chanted as they also trampled on an effigy of Chinese President Xi Jinping.

Mong Palatino, one of the leaders of the rally, said, “Our message is addressed to the Chinese government: Move out of the West Philippine Sea, dismantle its illegal structures, …recognize the 2016 arbitral tribunal ruling, and stop the harassment of Filipino fisherfolk and …Philippine supply missions.”

READ: PH’s trilateral meeting with US, Japan not directed at any country — DFA

‘Leveraging alliances’

Defense Secretary Gilberto Teodoro Jr., in a statement on Tuesday, said the country was “changing its defense paradigms, strengthening its own capabilities and leveraging alliances with allies and like-minded nations.”

This strategy serves to “enable the Philippines to both secure its territory and its rights under international law and be an effective partner of other countries in ensuring freedom of navigation, overflight and security in international waters,” Teodoro said.

In his Day of Valor message, Armed Forces of the Philippines chief of staff Gen. Romeo Brawner Jr. urged Filipinos to remember “the sacrifices made by our brave soldiers who gallantly defended our nation’s honor in the face of adversity in past wars and armed conflicts.”

This handout photograph taken on April 7, 2024 and released by the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), BRP Antonio Luna participating in the first Multilateral Maritime Cooperative Activity between the Philippines, US, Australia and Japan, in South China Sea.ARMED FORCES OF THE PHILIPPINES / AFP

This handout photograph taken on April 7, 2024 and released by the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), BRP Antonio Luna participating in the first Multilateral Maritime Cooperative Activity between the Philippines, US, Australia and Japan, in South China Sea. ARMED FORCES OF THE PHILIPPINES/AFP

These statements followed on the heels of Sunday’s first joint military exercises between the Philippines and three of its allies—the United States, Australia and Japan—in the West Philippine Sea.

Balikatan in Batanes

As they did last year, Philippine and US troops will again train to defend Batanes, the country’s northernmost province, in Balikatan exercises scheduled on April 25 to May 10.

The joint drills will be held in the capital town of Basco and the islands of Itbayat and Mavulis, Gov. Marilou Cayco said on Facebook.

The troops will conduct reconnaissance, free fall and island seizure drills as well as the transport of state-of-the-art High Mobility Artillery Rocket System, Cayco said.

The Inquirer reported last week that two ranking US Army engineers had arrived in Itbayat to prepare the construction of a humanitarian logistics warehouse.

Your subscription could not be saved. Please try again.
Your subscription has been successful.

Subscribe to our daily newsletter

By providing an email address. I agree to the Terms of Use and acknowledge that I have read the Privacy Policy.

Batanes, which has served as Balikatan site in the past, is located about 150 kilometers from the southernmost tip of Taiwan, the stronghold of Nationalist forces fleeing the communist takeover in mainland China in 1949. China threatens to retake the island, which has since developed into a self-governing democracy.

Balikatan will officially open on April 22 at Camp Aguinaldo in Quezon City. —WITH A REPORT FROM REUTERS

TAGS: Ambassador Jose Romualdez, trilateral summit, WPS

© Copyright 1997-2024 INQUIRER.net | All Rights Reserved

We use cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. By continuing, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. To find out more, please click this link.