Eleven Philippine senators have condemned Beijing for their “illegal activities” in the West Philippine Sea, particularly in several areas inside the country’s Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ).
They are Ralph Recto, Senate president pro-tempore, Ramon “Bong” Revilla, Francis Pangilinan, Richard Gordon and Manuel “Lito” Lapid.
Joel Villanueva, Risa Hontiveros, Nancy Binay, Grace Poe, Leila de Lima and Senate minority leader Franklin Drilon.
In attaching their names to proposed Senate Resolution No. 708, the senators condemned China for their continued unlawful actions in the WPS, in blatant violation of the United Nations Conference on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) and the 2016 The Hague tribunal ruling that junked China’s sweeping maritime claims.
They said that regional powerhouse China’s contempt for international law has jeopardized the interests of other claimant countries like Brunei, Vietnam, Malaysia, Indonesia and the Philippines.
The resolution – which wasn’t signed by Senate President Tito Sotto – was prompted by the refusal of China to order the pull-out of its militia vessels in the PH’s EEZ in spite of daily diplomatic protest lodged by the Department of Foreign Affairs.
In line with this, Sen. Hontiveros called on the government to “pressure” Beijing to pay its P800-billion debt representing estimated ecological damage in the WPS and the marine resources they had pillaged, which might be used to combat the Covid pandemic.
Observers however said Sotto’s refusal to join his colleagues in skewering China over the WPS issue could ultimately doom the resolution.