Chiz calls for comprehensive diplomatic response to China

June 21, 2024 Camille P. Balagtas 166 views

SENATE President Francis “Chiz” G. Escudero expressed deep concern over the escalating tensions in the West Philippine Sea, particularly in Ayungin Shoal, and called for a comprehensive briefing from the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) to address the intensifying conflict.

“The escalation of tensions in the West Philippine Sea is alarming, and the Senate will be seeking a full briefing from the DFA on the latest incident, as well as the efforts being undertaken to address this,” Escudero said in a statement.

The Senate chief underscored the need for a proactive approach from the DFA beyond filing diplomatic protests, urging it to engage in meaningful dialogue with Beijing to prevent further escalation.

He also stressed the importance of protecting the Philippines’ rights and privileges in the disputed territory while exploring all possible diplomatic avenues.

“In the meantime, the DFA should go beyond the filing of diplomatic protests each time an incident occurs, and must explore every means to conduct a meaningful dialogue with their counterparts from Beijing with the end in view of avoiding further escalation, without giving up any of our rights and privileges in our claimed territory vis-a-vis theirs,” Escudero said.

In addition to diplomatic efforts, Escudero called on the Armed Forces of the Philippines to find innovative ways to ensure the resupply of troops stationed on BRP Sierra Madre in Ayungin Shoal.

“As our diplomats work to advance our interests, I urge our Armed Forces to explore alternative methods to deliver provisions to the Sierra Madre in Ayungin Shoal so that our troops are properly resupplied while minimizing the risks and achieving our desired objectives,” he said.

Escudero’s remarks come amid heightened tensions in the West Philippine Sea, where repeated incidents have raised concerns over the safety and sovereignty of the Philippines’ claimed territories.

Last Wednesday, the DFA denounced the “illegal and aggressive actions” of the Chinese Coast Guard near the Ayungin Shoal on June 17, which severely injured a Philippine Navy personnel and damaged Filipino vessels.