THE STRAIGHT TIMES PHOTO CREDIT
MANILA, Philippines -- Senator Risa Hontiveros braved her stand, this time, commending firstly the efforts of former Ombudsman Conchita Carpio-Morales and former Foreign Secretary Albert del Rosario on their pursuit to file a complaint against Chinese President Xi Jinping at the International Criminal Court (ICC). Now, she took a step further to address territorial concerns in the senate.
Protest, Probe, and the Philippine Territory
Hontiveros filed the Senate Resolution No. 1035, urging the appropriate Senate committee to probe the swarm of Chinese militia vessels near Pag-asa Island as well as the reported Chinese-manned dredger vessel in Lobo, Batangas.
According to reports, the dredger vessel suddenly appeared off Brgy. Lagdalarin in Lobo town purportedly to conduct dredging operations at Lobo River for a company named Seagate Engineering and Buildsystems.
The emergence of the dredger vessel in Batangas came after reports of hundreds of Chinese militia vessels were surrounding areas in the West Philippine Sea, including Pag-asa Island, since January.
On the complaint before the ICC meanwhile, technically called as ‘communication,’ was filed on behalf of Filipino fishermen “persecuted and injured” by China’s aggressive island-building and occupation of islands in the West Philippine Sea.
Several fishermen in Pangasinan province have cried foul on being harassed by Chinese Coast Guard in the disputed Scarborough Shoal in the West Philippine Sea.
It is known that the Philippines has been apart in the ICC dialogues, filing cases now and then. However, recently, President Rodrigo Roa Duterte turned his back and threatened ICC in meddling with his signature platform on the illegal drugs trade—declaring war against the people behind the trade which resulted to a high toll count of deaths and made waves for the human rights organizations to go against with.
President Duterte still maintains passive talks with China, and has become submissive lately. Since assuming the presidency, he has chosen to forge closer ties with the Chinese diplomats, setting aside Manila’s dispute with Beijing over the South China Sea.
Duterte said also that the Philippines cannot confront China because it cannot match the regional power’s military might.
“If I go to war pupulpugin ang Navy ko in a matter of minutes. Kung makipag-gyera ako sa China, in 7 minutes yung missile nila aabot ng Manila,” he said.
(If I go to war my Navy will be crushed in a matter of minutes. If I wage a war with China, in 7 minutes their missile will reach Manila.)
According to the reports of Inquirer however, Hontiveros, the opposition senator, has given support to the complaint filed by Del Rosario and Morales at the ICC, saying that, “The fight is not through military means… we can defend our sovereignty through diplomatic and political means.”