MANILA - Sen. Risa Hontiveros on Wednesday demanded that the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) release a complete report on diplomatic protests that the Philippines has filed against China over the latter's acts in the disputed South China Sea.
Hontiveros made the statement following Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano's earlier pronouncement that the Philippines had filed "several dozens" of protests against China, estimated to be around 50 to 100 in the last two years.
“Dapat malaman natin kung totoo 'yan o exaggeration o guni-guni. Kailangan sabihin nila ng kongkreto at detalyado sa publiko kung ano-ano ba talaga itong diplomatic actions na isinagawa ninyo,” the lady senator told reporters.
(We should know whether that is true, an exaggeration, or a product of imagination. They should provide a concrete and detailed report on what these diplomatic actions are.)
Cayetano made the statement in response to concerns over China's activities in the West Philippine Sea, the country's exclusive economic zone in the South China Sea, including the installation of missile launch systems and the landing of bomber planes on islands within the waters.
Hontiveros said what the DFA should provide is a complete "foreign policy audit” of what it is doing about the issue.
“Ano na ba ang direction o trajectory at ano na ba ang mga kongkretong isinagawa ng pamahalaan kaugnay sa Tsina?" she asked.
(What is the direction or trajectory of the actions of the government regarding China?)
The senator also raised concerns about reports of bullying of Filipino fishermen by members of the Chinese Coast Guard in the Scarborough Shoal, a rich fishing ground off Zambales.
Hontiveros said a lack of reaction to the concerns of the fishermen would be an “insult” and “turnabout” to the Philippines' fight for its maritime rights.
President Rodrigo Duterte raised the matter with Chinese Ambassador to the Philippines Zhao Jianhua on Monday, and the envoy vowed action.