Diplomatic protests vs China ‘futile’ if arbitration decision won’t be upheld – group
Manila, Philippines – A national federation of small fisherfolk Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (PAMALAKAYA) shrugged off by the report of the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) that at least 45 diplomatic protests have been filed against China’s incursion of the Philippine territory since President Rodrigo Duterte assumed office in 2016.
In a statement, PAMALAKAYA National Chairperson Fernando Hicap said that the “diplomatic protests filed would be futile if the administration continuously ignores our international legal claim via the 2016-verdict of the permanent court of arbitration invalidating China’s 9-dash line historic claim over almost the entire South China Sea’.
“Dozens of diplomatic protest are insignificant until our own government finally recognizes our international legal claim over the contested waters. The arbitration decision would be actually the strongest legal claim and measure we could enforce against China’s aggressive usurpation of our territory. Unfortunately, the Duterte government is the one that doesn’t recognize this historic victory of ours,” Hicap said.
The document showing the diplomatic protests was submitted to the House of Representatives during the National Task Force West Philippine Sea (NTF West Philippine Sea) last week.
Hicap, former Anakpawis Party-list solon slated the Duterte administration’s ‘soft stance to China’s aggression’.
“Duterte has yet to issue a condemnation against the continuous encirclement of Chinese vessels in the Philippine-occupied Pag-asa Island. It threatens the livelihood of our fisherfolk and moreover, our national security,”
“While the Filipino fishers are enduring the harassment and antagonistic attitude of Chinese personnel in the West Philippine Sea, Duterte has been warm and kind with the aggressors who are directly robbing us of our marine resources. He is essentially waiving the supposed implementation of our environmental laws that could protect our territories,” the fisherfolk leader ended. ###