A lawmaker believes that what happened in Recto Bank (or Reed Bank) is connected with the territorial disputes in the West Philippine Sea (or South China Sea).
Senator Panfilo Lacson said he received information that the incident is China’s means to check on how the Philippines will react.
“Not from a local source na hindi ko tinanong kung ano ang basis. Ang sinasabi doon is it was a test of how far back we can go. Kasi kung alam nilang urong tayo ng urong, sulong sila ng sulong,” Lacson added.
Lacson said the report he received showed that a Chinese Militia vessel rammed the Filipino fishing boat.
China had claimed almost the entire South China Sea based on the Nine-Dash Line Theory it adopted.
It also showed interest on Recto or Reed Bank as the area is rich in oil and gas deposits.
The senator said the country can always use the Mutual Defense Treaty it has with the United States to prevent China’s bullying at the West Philippine Sea.
Lacson said this is a means to maintain balance of power.
“I’m not saying we implement it. Pero hihintayin pa ba nating magkaroon ng armed attack? Lalong escalation yun. Mas maganda na ginamit natin yung treaty to act proactively,” he reiterates.
Lacson also called out Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo for his seeming partiality with China and for not taking sides with the Filipino fishermen whose lives were thrown in danger.
To which, Panelo was quick to respond, pointing out that what the senator was saying was far from the truth.
He also stressed that President Duterte is not taking China’s side.
“The President is a thinking, cautious and responsible President. Not an irresponsible and reckless President that others would (label) him to be,“ Panelo said.
He added, “I’m echoing the line of the President when he says let us wait for the final findings of facts of the investigation being conducted by both countries.” (with reports from Nel Maribojoc) /mbmf
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