Press Release
November 26, 2018


*Statement of Akbayan Senator Risa Hontiveros on the Chinese coastguard driving away Philippine media from Panatag Shoal

I condemn in the strongest terms the behavior displayed by members of the Chinese coastguard towards the members of the Reporter's Notebook team.

This is precisely the kind of bullying that other countries dealing with China have faced, and this is precisely the arrogance that we have warned this government about. The fact that this incident happened just after Chinese President Xi Jinping visited our country and occurred in Panatag Shoal, well within the 200 nautical mile Exclusive Economic Zone of the Philippines, is clear evidence not only of China's arrogance, but also the failure of President Rodrigo Duterte to exercise the political will and imagination to enforce the ruling successfully awarded to us at The Hague. This incident only shows, yet again, that the government's claim that we "co-control" Panatag Shoal is a total sham.

Without doubt, President Duterte's policy on China is not only not working, but completely submissive to his Chinese master. The incident happened as a result of the administration's defeatist foreign policy and its virtual capitulation to China's interests.

This is a litmus test to the new leadership of the DFA, which has arguably more gravitas than the previous one. Will it find the courage to assert our sovereignty and territorial integrity or will it continue the cowardly and defeatist foreign policy and fake diplomatic protests of its predecessor?

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