The national federation of small fisherfolk Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (PAMALAKAYA) has described as “futile” the 45 diplomatic protests filed by the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) against China’s incursion of the Philippine territory since President Rodrigo Duterte assumed office in 2016.
“The diplomatic protests filed would be futile if the administration continuously ignores the international legal claim via the 2016-verdict of the permanent court of arbitration invalidating China’s 9-dash line historic claim over almost the entire South China Sea,” PAMALAKAYA National Chairperson Fernando Hicap said in a statement on Sunday.
“Dozens of diplomatic protest are insignificant until our own government finally recognizes our international legal claim over the contested waters. The arbitration decision would be actually the strongest legal claim and measure we could enforce against China’s aggressive usurpation of our territory,” said Hicap.
Hicap said, unfortunately, the Duterte government is the one that does not recognize this historic victory of the country.
The document showing the diplomatic protests was submitted to the House of Representatives during the National Task Force West Philippine Sea (NTF West Philippine Sea) last week.
Hicap, former Anakpawis Party-list solon, criticized that the Duterte administration has a “soft stance to China’s aggression.”
“Duterte has yet to issue a condemnation against the continuous encirclement of Chinese vessels in the Philippine-occupied Pag-asa Island. It threatens the livelihood of our fisherfolk and moreover, our national security,” he said.
While the Filipino fishers are enduring the harassment and antagonistic attitude of Chinese personnel in the West Philippine Sea, Duterte has been warm and kind with the aggressors who are directly robbing the country of marine resources.
Duterte is essentially waiving the supposed implementation of the Philippines environmental laws that could protect the territories, the fisherfolk leader also said./Stacy Ang