Map showing the disputed areas in the West Philippine Sea (south China Sea), including the Spratlys Islands and Scarborough Shoal. AFP

Map exhibiting the disputed areas in the West Philippine Sea (south China Sea), together with the Spratlys Islands and Scarborough Shoal. AFP

The Philippines might lose its territorial claim in the South China Sea (West Philippine Sea) by “default” if the nation would proceed “kowtowing” to China, detained Senator Leila de Lima warned on Monday.

“The real potential threat is staring us in the face, and government’s indecisiveness in dealing with this threat that China brings to our national security could lead us to a tipping point where we could lose our rights to these maritime territories by default,” De Lima stated in a hand written assertion from detention.

“We should neither wait indecisively, nor continue kowtowing to China, while China continues to chip away at our rights and on our hold on these territories. At the very least, our leaders must demand respect from their Chinese counterparts,” she stated.

The senator was reacting to the reported harassment of Chinese Navy that allegedly fired warning pictures final April 9 to drive Filipino fishermen away from Union Bank in the closely disputed Spratly archipelago in the South China Sea.

READ: China shoos away Pinoys

De Lima, a member of the Senate minority bloc, known as the incident a “worrisome development.”

“The attack by a Chinese naval vessel (apparently a navy ship, and not a coast guard vessel), as confirmed by Rep. Gary Alejano after interviewing the fishermen, is a worrisome development,” she stated.

The senator was referring to Magdalo Rep. Gary Alejano, a former Marine officer, who claimed that it was China’s Navy, and never its Coast Guard that fired the warning pictures on the Union Bank.

READ: China’s navy harassed PH fishers

“This incident mirrors China’s newfound daring and boldness to discard of the conventional coast guard actions in enforcing its territorial claims. Such escalates the situation in the Spratlys, and should be strongly condemned by the Philippine government,” De Lima added.

De Lima has been detained on the Philippine National Police Custodial Center for drug charges./ac


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