PAMALAKAYA: DFA’ diplomatic protest vs China a “whitewash to its earlier defeatist remark”
Manila, Philippines – The country’s top diplomat on Thursday has earned the ire of the militant fishers’ group Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (PAMALAKAYA) over what it called as a “defeatist stand” on China’s recently-passed Coast Guard Law.
Coast Guard Law, passed on January 22, empowers Chinese coast guard to fire at non-Chinese vessels in maritime territory being illegally claimed by Beijing.
PAMALAKAYA earlier raised fear that Filipino fishers might be the potential targets of Chinese naval forces which are being strengthened to swarm the Chinese-claimed South China Sea, which covers 80% of the Philippines’ exclusive economic zone in the West Philippine Sea.
“China has all the right to enact their own law, don’t get us wrong. But they don’t have any right to enforce a stringent measure against Filipinos, not especially in our own fishing grounds,” Fernando Hicap, PAMALAKAYA National Chairperson said in a statement.
The fishers’ group was reacting to an earlier statement of foreign affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr., that the Philippines has no business with what laws China would pass because it’s their prerogative as a nation.
“It’s their prerogative as a nation to pass a law but it’s our sovereignty and our fishers’ rights that they are trampling on,” Hicap, former Anakpawis Party-list solon, told Locsin.
Still unconvinced, PAMALAKAYA said that the diplomatic protest filed against China by the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) yesterday, was only to “whitewash its earlier defeatist statement on the recent Chinese aggression”.
“The Duterte government’s diplomatic protest doesn’t have any merit when it consistently neglects to uphold and impose to China our historical, legal, and political claim over the West Philippine Sea. No amount of diplomatic protests could be greater than our historic victory on the international tribunal that invalidated China’s claim in nearly the entire South China Sea,” ended Hicap. ###