FOLLOWING reports of continuing presence of Chinese vessels into Philippine waters, Senator Christopher “Bong” Go said that President Rodrigo Duterte will continue to fight for the rights of the country in the West Philippine Sea to the final day of his term.
“Alam niyo si Pangulo, ‘yung independent foreign policy niya eh friendly po ‘yan si Pangulo sa lahat, enemies to none,” said Go in an interview after visiting fire victims in Maharlika, Taguig City on Tuesday, March 29.
“Pero siyempre ipinaglalaban niya po always ‘yung karapatan natin. Kita mo nagagalit ‘yan kapag inaapi na ang ating bansa,” he assured.
On March 2, the Philippine Coast Guard reported that a Chinese vessel approached BRP Malabrigo, which was conducting a maritime patrol operation near Bajo de Masinloc.
The incident was described as a “close distance maneuvering” that limited the Filipino vessel’s maneuvering room. This was a “clear” violation of the 1972 International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea, according to the PCG.
On March 14, the Department of Foreign Affairs also summoned the Chinese ambassador to the country to explain the “illegal intrusion and lingering presence” of a Chinese navy ship detected off the Cuyo Group of Islands near Palawan, and Apo island off Mindoro from January 29 to February 1.
Meanwhile, Go has urged restraint and expressed hope that the claimant countries will resolve the dispute through diplomatic means. He did, however, stress the need for the country to promote its rights in its territorial waters and special economic zone.
“So kung puwede naman pong pag-usapan… diplomatikong pamamaraan, pag-usapan na lang po natin ito,” said Go.
“Pero importante pa rin ang ating… kung ano ang atin, atin po ‘yon, atin talaga ‘yon. Ipinaglalaban natin dapat ‘yan,” he added.
When asked if Duterte has given any explicit instructions to deal with the situation, Go replied that the President will meet with his cabinet to discuss it, assuring the Filipino people that Duterte puts premium on matters that are crucial to the country’s national interest.
“Eh kapag interes na po ng Pilipino … ‘yung national interest, ay binibigyan po kaagad ni Pangulong Duterte ng halaga,” he assured.