By Vanne Elaine Terrazola
Senators welcomed the filing of the diplomatic protests on Wednesday over the reported swarming of Chinese vessels in the Pag-asa Island.
Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. said a diplomatic protest has been “fired off” regarding the reports that some 113 Chinese vessels surrounded the Pag-asa Island in the disputed Spratlys last week for a still unknown reason.
National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon said the government also protested the passage of Chinese warships in the Sibutu Strait in Mindanao without asking for diplomatic clearance.
Senate President Pro-Tempore Ralph Recto supported the protest, urging the government to continue voicing out the country’s concerns over China’s aggression.
“We may be divided on many issues, but we are united on this one. The people hope that this becomes the template of response to future acts of aggression by other countries. We should not tire of peacefully airing out our grievance,” Recto said.
Senator Joel Villanueva, meanwhile, urged the Department of Foreign Affairs to make public the contents of the protest, “especially that our National Security Adviser raised the alarm on threats to our country’s national security.”
Villanueva maintained that Pag-asa Island is within the Philippine territory and that China should ask permission to pass through.
In a tweet, Sen. Panfilo Lacson aired his belief that China’s “cabbage strategy” to control the disputed areas is “now fully operational.”