‘Government not giving up West Philippine Sea claims’

Sheila Crisostomo - The Philippine Star
�Government not giving up West Philippine Sea claims�
Filipino fishermen fetch MV Kapitan Felix Oca at a designated rendezvous point in the West Philippine Sea on December 11, 2023.
Michael Varcas / The Philippine STAR

MANILA, Philippines — The Marcos administration is on the right track in its consistent lodging of official protests against China’s incursions and harassment in the West Philippine Sea, as the protests prove to the world the country’s determination to defend its sovereignty, House Deputy Majority Leader Neptali Gonzales II said yesterday.

“We have to show to the world that we are not relinquishing our claim. For us to be silent, for instance, other countries that are supportive of us will also lose interest if we ourselves cannot show any interest,” Gonzales, chairman of the House special committee on West Philippine Sea concerns, said.

He said the Philippines would never relent in protesting China’s brazen violation of international law.

The Mandaluyong lawmaker also said China continues to engage in provocative acts in Philippine waters, unmindful of condemnation from the international community.

“Some might view that nothing happens with our diplomatic protest because, in fact, by this time, no action has been taken on any of the diplomatic protests that we filed,” he maintained.

Davao Oriental Rep. Cheeno Miguel Almario said that one of the things discussed in Gonzales’ committee is for the Philippines to maintain “sustainable presence” in the WPS.

“When you look at it, it’s always a show of size and strength. But given our archipelagic feature here, what is needed: numbers, agility and adaptability to the changing scenarios there,” Almario added.

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