Duterte admin must weigh Carpio’s proposals on West PHL Sea dispute — Sen. Cayetano

admin   •   March 23, 2017   •   3824

BANGKOK, Thailand — Senator Alan Peter Cayetano assured that President Rodrigo Duterte has no plans of giving up Philippine’s territory.

This has been the senator’s response to Supreme Court Associate Justice Antonio Carpio’s pronouncement that the President should never make statements that seem to hint that the Philippines is surrendering its sovereignty over its rightful territories in the West Philippine Sea.

Sen. Cayetano said, “Let me just assure Justice Carpio and all Filipinos watching over the West Philippine issue that, the President is doing everything he can and he will not give up even a single square inch.”

The senator said he recognizes the contribution of Carpio in defending the rights of the country over its territory in the West Philippine Sea.

However, he also noted that the strategies or option recommended by the Supreme Court justice, such as the filing of a diplomatic protest against China; sending of navy patrols to Scarborough shoal; asking the United States to help declare the area as territory of the Philippines; and accepting US’ offer of a joint naval patrol in South China Sea, may not be appropriate for the current situation and administration anymore.

“We need Justice Carpio to guide, to ask hard questions but if you look at the five steps that he wants, some of them are purely legal, some are purely diplomatic, but some are a matter of strategy and geopolitics that the administration has to weigh at this period in time,” said Cayetano.

“What could have been valid during the last 6 years… iba yung first five, iba yung last two minutes, (the first five is different; the last two minutes are different).”

Meanwhile, acting Foreign Affairs Secretary Enrique Manalo said the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) has yet to determine the action it will take on the reported plan of China to build structures on one of the disputed territories in the South China Sea, the Scarborough or Panatag Shoal.

Manalo said no further action will be taken pending China’s response to the Philippine government’s request for a clarification on the matter.

“Justice Carpio has been very involved in this issue. I think he is very knowledgeable, and he has proposed certain options, but those options would only swing in under certain conditions as of now. That’s why it’s really very difficult to comment on them and all we can really do is to wait for China’s clarifications on the reported plan,” he said.

Meanwhile, Cayetano commented on rumors that he will be the next DFA secretary and explained his reasons for talking about the Philippines’ foreign affairs.
The senator said, his being in the Legislative branch allows him more freedom to talk than officials under the Executive branch.

He stressed that his talking has nothing to do with him being the next DFA secretary.

“When it comes sa mga press con, mas nakakapagsalita talaga yung outside the DFA because sa DFA each and every word na sabihin niya, ini-iscrutinize ng lahat diplomats around the world. So kahit sino, kahit ako or ibang mga tao ang malagay sa DFA, limited din talaga ang pwedeng sabihin (When it comes to press cons, those outside the DFA can talk more because when you’re with DFA, every word is scrutinized by diplomats around the world. So anybody, even me, once assigned to the DFA will be limited on what they are allowed to say),” explained Cayetano.
Currently, Cayetano is the chairperson of the Senate committee on foreign relations.

He also said he is preparing for whatever lies ahead, adding that he’s leaving the decision to the President on whether or not to appoint him as the next DFA secretary. — Rosalie Coz | UNTV News and Rescue

Chinese Embassy slams Hontiveros over reparation claims for damages in West Philippine Sea

Marje Pelayo   •   April 23, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – The Chinese Embassy did not take kindly Senator Risa Hontiveros’ claims that China owes the Philippines at least P200-B in reparations for the ecological damage it has caused the West Philippines Sea reef system during the past six years of its reclamation activities.

Hontiveros, a staunch critic of the Duterte administration, said such amount could be used to help affected families and improve the country’s healthcare system amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.

Her claims, she said, was based on a study conducted by the University of the Philippines (UP) Marine Science Institute.

In response, the Chinese Embassy called such remarks by Hontiveros as ‘ridiculously absurd and irresponsible’ and was made “for the sole purpose of catching eyeballs and for selfish political gains.”

The Embassy added that “China and the Philippines are friendly neighbors across the sea” and so the latter commits “to continue to provide our support and assistance” to the Philippines.

Hontiveros, on the other hand, said: “It is more absurd and irresponsible to see that, indeed, in the middle of a global pandemic, China has continued to aggressively violate Philippine sovereignty in the region.”

Hontiveros added that China cannot claim to be a friendly ‘neighbor across the sea’ when it has continued its land reclamation activities in the West Philippine Sea.

“Friends help each other out, not occupy their islands and destroy their reefs,” the lady senator argued.

READ: DFA files two diplomatic protests against China

On Wednesday (April 22), the Philippines filed two diplomatic protest against China – one for its creation of new districts in the disputed territory in the WPS and for its alleged pointing of a radar gun at a Philippine Navy ship in Philippine waters, as confirmed by Foreign Affairs Teddy Locsin Jr. MNP (with inputs from Harlene Delgado)

PHL, Chinese Coast Guard hold joint maritime drills in Manila

Robie de Guzman   •   January 15, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine Coast Guard and Chinese Coast Guard on Wednesday conducted joint maritime drills on search and rescue and combating fire at sea in the waters off the Philippine capital.

In a statement, the PCG said participating Filipino and Chinese personnel were given a scenario involving a vessel that caught fire while transiting Manila waters.

In response, the PCG deployed its 44-meter multi-role response vessel 4401, BRP Tubbataha, while the Chinese team dispatched vessel 5204. Both ships were equipped with water cannons used in firefighting assistance.

Five passengers and eight crew aboard the distressed ship were also rescued using rigid hull inflatable boats with rescue swimmers to aid the victims.

The PCG said the drill allows coast guard personnel to exercise interoperability and strengthen their capabilities in responding to such crises.

The joint maritime drills on search and rescue, and combating fire at sea are part of the week-long activities of Chinese Coast Guard’s port call in Manila.

The visit aims to strengthen understanding, mutual trust, and cooperation between the Philippines and China Coast Guard in a bid to promote maritime security and maritime law enforcement amid the territorial dispute in the West Philippine Sea.

PH, China Coast Guard to hold joint maritime exercises next week

Robie de Guzman   •   January 10, 2020

FILE PHOTO: A Chinese Coast Guard vessel is pictured on the disputed Second Thomas Shoal, part of the Spratly Islands, in the South China Sea March 29, 2014. REUTERS/Erik De Castro

MANILA, Philippines – The Chinese Coast Guard will dock in Manila on Monday, January 13 for a five-day goodwill visit, the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) said Friday.

PCG spokesperson Captain Armand Balilo said the China Coast Guard, headed by Director General Major General Wang Zhongcai, will visit the country for the conduct of maritime exercises with the PCG.

Participating coast guard members from the two countries will also hold search and rescue, and firefighting exercises. The drill will be held from January 13 to 17.

Balilo said that during the port visit, the Chinese and the Philippine coast guards will come up with a resolution that would ensure the security and safety of Filipino fishermen and public vessels traversing the country’s waters.

The PCG said it will welcome the China Coast Guard not with red carpet but with diplomatic reciprocity, the same way it welcomed the PCG during a past visit.

The Philippines has been in dispute with China over territorial and maritime claims in the South China Sea.

On several cases, Chinese ships were reported to have been circling shoals under the Philippine territory, including the vicinity of Pagasa Island in the West Philippine Sea. There were also cases of Filipino vessels reportedly harassed by the Chinese Coast Guard vessels.

The PCG expressed hope that the drill would be an opportunity for both sides to discuss the issue, and help improve the line of communication between the two nations when it comes to maritime patrol.

“Para magkaintindihan din kasi ang iniisip nga namin kung merong ma-enhance iyong pagkakaibigan baka sakaling magkaintindihan, even doon sa patrol at tsaka sa mga challenges, baka magkaroon ng tamang protocol kung paano ang dapat na engagement,” Balilo said.

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