MANILA - Sen. Panfilo Lacson on Monday said the Philippines needs to "establish stronger alliances" with military powers to stop Chinese bullying and incursion in the West Philippine Sea.
While a Hague court invalidated China's sweeping claims in disputed waters in 2016, the ruling " is unenforceable," Lacson said in a statement.
"The fact that we are a militarily weak country that cannot match China's military power should compel us to resort to establishing stronger alliances not only with other Asia-Pacific neighbors like Australia and Japan and the other ASEAN countries, but our long-standing western allies like the US and Europe," he said.
"Only through a clear message that the presence of 'balance of power' in the West Philippine Sea can help us in this regard," he said.
Minority senators backed Lacson's statement of support for Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana's call to stand against Chinese incursion in the West Philippine Sea.
"It is high time that the country as one nation stand up to China’s continued incursion in the West Philippine Sea," Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon said in a separate statement.
"By all accounts, it is maritime bullying," he said.
"We fully support the statement of Sec Lorenzana. China should put an end to their dubious and illegal claim over our exclusive economic zone and sovereign waters," Sen. Francis Pangilinan said.
Sen. Risa Hontiveros said "the international community stands beside us in condemning China’s continued deceit and aggression."
"Ang titigas ng ulo. The Chinese vessels in Julian Felipe reef should leave immediately. If they are fishing vessels as China claims, then they can't fish in our Exclusive Economic Zone without our consent. Misunderstanding nga ba o sadya na tayong niloloko?" she said.
"China better pack up and leave. The world is catching on to China's gray zone smokescreen."
"May pandemya pa tayong nilalabanan, tapos ang Tsina nanggugulo pa," she said.
(China is creating chaos while we are fighting a pandemic.)
Lacson said Chinese incursion in Philippine waters is worsened when the national government "resorts to acquiesce bordering on implied derogation of our sovereignty."
China has been repeatedly accused of exercising its influence over third world governments through vaccine diplomacy, or the donation of COVID-19 vaccines to countries that could not afford it.
The Philippines was among those who received free Chinese-made jabs earlier this year after the Department of Health (DOH) failed to submit documents needed to procure Pfizer vaccines in the first quarter of 2021.