The Department of Foreign Affairs’ diplomatic protests against China for violating international law and Philippine sovereignty in the West Philippine Sea has gained support from Malacañang.
“Yung filing of diplomatic protest, ginagawa po ‘yan basta kinakailangan gawin (The filing of the diplomatic protest, we will file them if they need to be filed),” said presidential spokesman Harry Roque Jr. in a virtual presser on Thursday, April 23.
He added, “Ke Covid, ke wala, tayo po ay mananatili na poprotektahan at itataguyod ang ating national territory at ang ating sovereign rights (With or without Covid, we will continue to protect and defend our national territory and sovereign rights).”
Former Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario also supported the move, condemning China for supposedly exploiting the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
“We fully concur with the filing of diplomatic protests against China by the Secretary of Foreign Affairs covering the threats to a Philippine Navy ship and the declaration by China of Philippine territory as part of Hainan province in violation of international law,” he said.
“We further condemn that China has predictably been relentless in exploiting the COVID-19 pandemic as it pursues its illegal and expansive claims in the (South China Sea) to the prejudice of Filipinos, the ASEAN states and the international community,” he added.
China recently pointed a radar gun at a Philippine Navy ship near Rizal Reef in the Kalayaan Island Group and claimed some Philippine territories — namely, the one in the Paracels and one in the Spratlys — as part of the local government in Sansha City, located in the southern island of Hainan.
Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. on Wednesday announced that diplomatic protests have been filed.
“We worked on this the whole day. And that is all that will be said on it because diplomatic notes are strictly confidential between the two states parties. Period,” said Locsin in a tweet.
“I expect that no one else in the government will comment on it because they are not competent to do it. Only the President himself can reveal these notes of his alter ego the Secretary of Foreign Affairs and rule thereon,” he added.