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Legislators, Senators Support Defense Chief in Brand New Word War vs. China



Written by Mart Shalom E. Bernales

Legislators, Senators Support Defense Chief in Brand New Word War vs. China. The members of the House of Representatives and senators set aside their political differences to back Department of National Defense Chief Delfin Lorenzana’s stand and Department of Foreign Affairs’ diplomatic protest on Monday about the presence of Chinese ships at Julian Felipe Reef in the West Philippine Sea.

           Malacañang Palace insisted that the reef is within the nation’s 200 nautical mile Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), and the activities of the Chinese vessels are illegal though seeking a peaceful resolution for the dispute in the challenged territory.

           Numerous Chinese vessels were spotted inside the Philippines’ EEZ, which China claimed as being stranded at Julian Felipe Reef due to extreme weather conditions and had trouble moving out of the disputed area.

           “I am no fool. Leave now,” Lorenzana stated in response to China’s insistence. “The weather has been good so far. They have no other reason to stay there.” He added.

           The Chinese Embassy called out these statements issued by Sec. Lorenzana and referred to it as “unprofessional.”

           Meanwhile, the Department of Foreign Affairs openly showed their support to Lorenzana, calling China’s statements “blatant falsehoods” as they deny the presence of their ships in the area and are stuck due to bad weather conditions.

           The Department of Foreign Affairs has filed a second democratic protest against China on Monday, April 5, following an initial protest lodged on March 21, current year.

           In addition, Sec. Lorenzana found allies in the senators and some legislators of the republic, even in the administration’s political rivals.

           A well-known critic of the Duterte administration and long-time senator Franklin Drilon expressed the importance of unity in these times of international turmoil.

           “It is high time that the country as one nation stand up to China’s continued incursion in the West Philippine Sea. It is maritime bullying.” Drilon stated.

           Sen. Panfilo Lacson also urged the entire Filipino community to rally behind Sec. Delfin Lorenzana and support the DND Chief’s stand in insisting on the departure of the Chinese vessels from the disputed territory.

           “All these have legal basis under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea and the existing arbitral ruling in our favor.” The senator said in another statement.

           Another vocal critic of the present administration, Sen. Risa Hontiveros, said that the international community is behind our nation in getting rid of China’s deceit and aggression.

           Furthermore, Surigao del Sur Representative Robert “Ace” Barbers said that Lorenzana’s stand is correct and hoped that other cabinet members would join him in his stance against China’s deception and aggression.

           Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque denied that there is an ongoing word war between the Philippines and China. He believed that the dispute could be resolved diplomatically since the Philippines has a close relationship with China while maintaining the Palace’s stance that Sec. Lorenzana was correct.

           “I think Sec. Lorenzana was correct in pointing out that area is part of the Philippine territory and Exclusive Economic Zone”. Roque stated.

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