(THE MANILA TIMES) SEN. Jose “Jinggoy” Estrada has stressed the need to recall the country’s ambassador to Beijing to discuss strategies on how to seek “redress” for China’s continued harassment of Filipinos in the West Philippine Sea (WPS).
Estrada made the proposal on Monday to recall Ambassador Jaime FlorCruz amid the “recurring acts of aggression against our countrymen in the West Philippine Sea.”
Sen. Francis Tolentino on Sunday also sought to recall FlorCruz to express the country’s “strong condemnation” over the China Coast Guard’s (CCG) repeated harassment of Philippine vessels on resupply missions to Filipino troops in Ayungin Shoal.
“I urge Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) Secretary Enrique Manalo to direct our ambassador to China to return to the country for consultation on the course of action in seeking redress for the persistent challenges we face in the WPS,” Estrada said in a statement.
“We must remain steadfast in resorting to diplomatic tools to convey the seriousness of our concerns and our unwavering commitment to engaging them in a peaceful and constructive dialogue,” he said.
“If all else fails, the DFA can consider adopting the courses of action that the Senate made in its adopted Resolution No. 79,” Estrada said.
The resolution calls for bringing international attention to China’s harassment of Filipino fishermen in the Philippine exclusive economic zone and its continued violation of the 2016 arbitral ruling and the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (Unclos).
The resolution also proposed “utilizing international fora to rally multilateral support for the enforcement of The Hague Ruling and raise awareness on the real situation” in the West Philippine Sea.
Under Resolution 79, the Philippines may file “a resolution before the UN General Assembly, to call for the cessation of all activities that harass Philippine vessels and violate the Philippines’ established rights in the West Philippine Sea.”
“The repeated harassment and bullying of Philippine vessels in the West Philippine Sea demand our immediate attention and resolute response,” Estrada said.
“We have not done this, but the executive branch, the President, and the DFA can make such a decision. If possible, we can recall our ambassador to Beijing to report to DFA and also to our President,” Tolentino said in Filipino.
“This is to show the seriousness of China’s violation of international law, which affected our rights in the West Philippine Sea,” he said in a radio interview.