Scarborough incident shows PH can’t defend itself - Honasan | Global News

Scarborough incident shows PH can’t defend itself – Honasan

MANILA, Philippines—Most of the Chinese vessels may have left the disputed Scarborough Shoal, but Senator Gregorio Honasan does not consider it a victory for the Philippines.

Instead, the senator on Saturday said that the latest turn of events showed the country’s failure “to protect our territorial integrity.”

“We failed to enforce our laws,” he told the Inquirer, noting that most of the Chinese fishing vessels were able to leave the shoal and get away with poached corals, live sharks and other forms of marine life.


Honasan commended the Department of Foreign Affairs for trying to resolve the standoff through diplomatic means. But he warned that “this incident will not be the last.”


He urged the government to “take advantage of the lull” to review the Philippines’ security arrangements with other countries, particularly the United States.

Honasan called for a “performance audit” of such pacts as the Visiting Forces Agreement with the US to see if they were still relevant in cases such as the Scarborough standoff.

“If they’re of no use to us, we might as well junk them,” he said in Filipino.

He said the Chinese poachers were able to get away because the Philippines had “no capability for hot pursuit and possible entry into foreign territory.”

“Of course, if we ordered our Navy to pursue, they would have done so but it would have been costly,” he said. “Clearly, we would have to rely on our security partners.”

Honasan said a better recourse next time would be for the government to immediately report such incursions to the US, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) or the United Nations.


In turn, allies should take immediate action so the Philippines would not be “relegated to reactive mode,” he said.

“Remember that this is not just a domestic or a regional issue,” he said. “Scarborough is a sea lane and there are other stakeholders.”

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“In case of another flashpoint, the Asean, for instance, should automatically take position so China would understand that its claim should be resolved through the UN or the UNCLOS (United Nations Convention on the Law of the Seas),” the senator added.

TAGS: ASEAN, China, Defense, Foreign affairs, Military, national security, Philippines, Politics, Scarborough Shoal, South China Sea, territorial disputes, UN, US

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