Press Release
May 7, 2018

Hontiveros on PH's weak response to China missiles:

Akbayan Senator Risa Hontiveros on Monday rued the Duterte government's "sheepish response" to China's installation of missiles in Philippine reefs in the West Philippine Sea, calling it "a grave insult to the bravery and sacrifices of Filipino soldiers who are guarding the country's territories." She also said that the administration is abdicating on its duty to protect the safety of Filipinos, particularly the fisherfolk.

"Despite the lack of resources and infrastructure, our troops stationed and assigned in the West Philippine Sea have bravely maintained our presence in the region and ensured the integrity of our territory. It is thus a grave insult to our soldiers and a mockery of their sacrifices that the Duterte government has chosen to continue to be subservient to Chinese interests in the face of the country's biggest security threat," Hontiveros said.

"Where is now the bravado of the so-called strongman? Binantaan at tinutukan na ng missiles ang ating mga sundalo sa West Philippine Sea, pro-China pa rin ang paninindigan ng kanilang Commander-in-Chief? Anong klaseng pamumuno yan? Isa itong malaking insulto sa katapangan at sakripisyo ng ating mga tropa na halos ibuwis ang lahat para lamang ipaglaban ang ating pambansang soberanya," Hontiveros added.

Hontiveros also chided the Duterte administration's statement that the Chinese missiles are not directed at the Philippines.

"China's fifth column"

"This is a statement that we expect from China's fifth column not from the spokesperson of the country's Commander-in-Chief. Is it now the policy of this government to allow superpowers to install missiles in our backyard as long as they are not directed at us?" Hontiveros queried.

"And how can they be sure? Were they informed by China about this? Did they have prior knowledge of the installation and existence of the missiles? Were they even there when they were installed? If not the Philippines, where are the missiles directed at? The government has a lot of explaining to do," Hontiveros stressed.

"Three key points"

Hontiveros raised three key points that the Duterte government must address to capably respond to China's aggresive militarization in the region.

"First, the government must court and mobilize international public opinion to our side by filing a strong diplomatic protest faithful to the ruling of the United Nations Arbitral Tribunal. Second, the government must develop a coherent, consistent and progressive foreign policy. The Kuwait crisis and the threat of Chinese missiles demand that we employ real foreign affairs experts who can craft and implement a foreign policy that is resolute but adaptable, strategic and pragmatic, amiable yet patriotic, especially in handling our territorial disputes. Lastly, it is paramount that the administration upgrades our naval defenses with strategic naval vessels and equipment to better secure the country's sovereignty and territories," Hontiveros proposed.

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