Press Release
May 8, 2018

Dispatch from Crame No. 302:
Sen. Leila M. de Lima's Statement on Duterte's claim that China is the "protector" of the Philippines


Instead of condemning China's deployment of missiles in the Spratly Islands, Duterte assures Filipinos that China will protect the Philippines. This is hilarious, because the only country from whom the Philippines needs protecting is China. Only Duterte needs China's protection. The rest of us needs protection from Duterte and China.

No other country has violated international law by building military bases on artificial islands within our Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) on the basis of a maritime claim already declared illegal under international law.

No other country has harassed and stopped the Philippine Navy and Air Force from sailing and flying to areas of the West Philippine Sea where we still maintain forces.

No other country has denied access to our fisherfolks and citizens in the Spratlys and Scarborough Shoal.

No other country has pushed us back to the confines of our 12-nautical mile territorial sea, forbidding us to go beyond into our 200-nautical mile EEZ.

No other country among all our neighbors in the South China Sea has unilaterally pushed its maritime borders more than 1,000 kilometers, from 1,400 kilometers to almost just 300 kilometers, by claiming the whole South China Sea.

No other country in the world is threatening our territorial integrity by installing missiles on our backyard. No other country is planning the deployment of tactical fighter and attack aircrafts in the Spratlys capable of reaching Manila in minutes.

Only China has done all of these. Only China among all the countries in the world threatens us. Only China presents a clear and present danger to our national security. And yet Duterte proudly exclaims that the one country who threatens us will be the same country who will protect us. If this is our defense policy on China, then the Filipino people are definitely screwed.

I support the initiative of the Senate leadership to conduct a legislative inquiry on the deployment of Chinese missiles in the Spratlys.

It is time for the AFP to explain to the people its position on China's move to put Palawan under the threat of missiles launched from the Spratlys. It is time for the AFP to confirm if they agree with their Commander-in-Chief's position that the country that threatens our West Philippine Sea territories is now our "protector". It is time for the AFP to clarify once and for all if it still intends to defend our remaining forces in the West Philippine Sea against China and traitors in our midst.

The Filipino people deserve better than the silent capitulation of its entire defense infrastructure to the single biggest threat to its national existence.

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