Press Release
February 2, 2021


Senator Ronald 'Bato' Dela Rosa expressed support for the proposed joint diplomatic protest among the Southeast Asian Nation claimants in the West Philippines Sea following the implementation of a new Chinese Coast Guard law allowing Chinese troops to fire at foreign vessels that will be caught sailing within the waters being claimed by China.

Dela Rosa said that the diplomatic action being proposed by fellow senator Francis 'Tol' Tolentino through a resolution must be done soon to avert possible chaos in the contested area.

"I fully support him [Sen. Tolentino] with that kind of move, dahil alam ko si Senator Tolentino ay magaling 'yan pagdating sa international law. Alam na alam niya 'yan. Suportado ko sya diyan. Dapat talaga gawin natin 'yan," Dela Rosa said.

Dela Rosa acknowledged that as a sovereign state, China can enact its own laws, but expressed that the Philippines should protest since the country is a claimant of the Scarborough Shoal and Spratly Island in the West Philippine Sea.

"Gustuhin man natin, we cannot prevent them [China] from making their own laws because that is their sovereign power - to make their laws. Ang sa atin na lang ay yung protest dapat mapapabilis. At kung magpa-file kaagad si Senator Tolentino ng resolution pertaining to that, na makipag-alliance tayo sa ibang affected na Southeast Asian Nations in that Joint Protest, then I'll vote for that resolution. Kailangan bilisan natin," the Mindanaoan senator added.

Dela Rosa, who chairs the Senate Committee on Public Order and Dangerous Drugs, further noted that the government must swiftly act on the issue to ensure the safety of Filipino fisherfolk who are doing their chores in the contested waters.

"Hikayatin natin ang executive department na bilisan nila yung pakikipag-alliance sa ating neighboring countries para hindi na natin hintayin na meron pa tayong mga mangingisda na mamamatay dahil tinira ng kanilang [Chinese] Coast Guard. Napakasakit po," Dela Rosa noted, adding that he will personally discuss the issue with fellow senators.

Dela Rosa cautioned about the possibility of a shooting war between the Chinese and Philippine Coast Guards.

"So pag gawin nila yan, alangan naman yung ating mga Coast Guard na nasa nearby area ay hindi magre-react. Pag nag-react yan, magre-result na yan sa shooting war na, so magkagulo tayo niyan. Kung ako naman commander ng Coast Guard, talagang hindi ako papayag na yung kababayan natin na nangingisda lang peacefully dyan sa dagat na yan ay patayin ninyo. Lalaban ako pag ako ay Philippine Coast Guard. So delikado yan," the senator said.

The former Philippine National Police chief also said the proposed conduct of joint naval drills in the area between the Philippines and United States military is a good idea to prevent the Chinese militia from attacking Filipino fishermen in the contested waters.

"Maganda yan para maramdaman din ng mga intsik na we are ready. Kapag sila ay magiging over aggressive, ready na yung Pilipinas with the support from the United States thru the ongoing Mutual Defense Treaty natin sa Amerika at yung mga pronouncement ng Biden administration na medyo favorable naman sa Pilipinas," Dela Rosa said.

During the hearing of the Department of National Defense budget in October last year, Dela Rosa requested from the department not to tolerate any bullying from our neighboring countries in the West Philippine Sea.

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