Roque urges PH to file protest against US, China


Posted at Dec 18 2016 08:06 PM | Updated as of Dec 19 2016 03:54 AM

Roque urges PH to file protest against US, China 1
The USNS Bowditch, an oceanographic survey ship, is seen in this undated US Navy handout photo. U.S. Navy via Reuters

Kabayan party-list Rep. Harry Roque said the government should file protests against China and the United States after a maritime incident involving the seizure of an underwater drone just 50 nautical miles off Subic Bay.

Roque said the area where China seized a US underwater drone was "well within" the Philippines' Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), over which the Philippines has exclusive sovereign rights.

"This incident reveals that both China and the US have acted without regard to the rights of the Philippines," Roque said.

Roque added that while states have the freedom of navigation over the EEZs of other states, such acts must be exercised with "due regard" for the interests of other states.

"The United States should not have conducted probes within our EEZ. Similarly, the act of the Chinese submarine in retrieving the said probe is also suspicious. The Philippines maintains its sovereign claim over various features within the West Philippine Sea and it has no interest in allowing its territory to be used as a battleground between the United States and China," he said.


Roque also called upon President Rodrigo Duterte to "urgently consider" the termination of the Visiting Forces Agreement (VFA) and the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA) in order to protect the territorial integrity of the Philippines.

"By abandoning those agreements, we can adopt a position of neutrality, following the footsteps of countries such as Switzerland," he said.

Duterte has threatened to repeal the VFA after the Millennium Challenge Corporation deferred a vote on continuing assistance to the Philippines, supposedly due to concerns over alleged human rights violations in the country.