Press Release
April 25, 2021

Drilon blames appeasement policy for undeterred China 'Hindi na tayo pinapakinggan ng China,' Drilon laments

The appeasement and accommodation policy on China only emboldened China which remains undeterred by the country's filing of diplomatic protests and the demand made by Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana for the Chinese military "to leave the country's sovereign territories and abide by international law," according to Senate Minority Leader Franklin M. Drilon.

"Ang problema natin, hindi na tayo pinapansin dahil pinabayaan natin iyan noon. Iyan ay resulta ng appeasement and accommodation policy natin sa China. Kaya patuloy na hindi tayo papansinin dahilan sa policy na iyan," Drilon said in a radio interview.

"What we see now are the fruits of the policy of appeasement and accommodation towards China," stressed Drilon, citing, as examples, the continued incursion of around 160 Chinese vessels in the West Philippine Sea. He also cited the growing COVID-19 cases in the country, which, he said, could have been prevented had the country immediately banned travelers from Wuhan, China, where the virus began in January 2020, similar to what Vietnam and Taiwan immediately did.

Drilon stressed the need for the country to get the support of the ASEAN, particularly countries with claims on the South China Sea to strengthen our stance on the West Philippine Sea issue, saying "bilateral talks with China on the maritime dispute does not work in the country's favor."

"Apart from the protests, which I support, we should, as an objective, get the other nations to confront China, including our allies - United States, Japan and Australia. We must unite against the unlawful Chinese incursion in the West Philippine Sea," Drilon stressed.

Drilon said it is the President who should initiate the move to present a united front with other claimants in the WPS, including Brunei, Malaysia, Taiwan and Vietnam, "in order to make China realize that what it is doing is wrong and against international laws."

He added the ruling of the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) in favor of the Philippines is the basis of the government in rightfully and forcefully asserting the country's claims on the WPS. The case was initiated by former President Benigno Aquino. The award is based on the UNCLOS, which both China and the Philippines ratified.

Drilon said it is high time to abandon the policy of appeasement and accommodation.

Meanwhile, Drilon said that the alleged "verbal fishing agreement", which some sectors cited as a possible reason why Chinese vessels refuse to leave the country's exclusive economic zone, is "invalid" if it indeed exists.

"To me, any verbal agreement is invalid. Any agreement between two nations, whether in the form of an executive agreement or a treaty must be in written form, otherwise it cannot be enforced," Drilon said.

If indeed a verbal fishing agreement exists, Drilon said the Filipino people and the Senate must be informed of the exact parameters of the agreement.

Drilon further stressed any agreement should be in accordance with the Constitution, our sovereignty and must conform with the international tribunal decision.

"We are bound by Article XII, Sec. 2 paragraph 2 of the Constitution which says that 'The State shall protect the nation's marine wealth in its archipelagic waters, territorial sea, and exclusive economic zone, and reserve its use and enjoyment exclusively to Filipino citizens,'" he added.

"The Senate, as the President's partner in foreign policy making, has to know what the agreement is, to determine whether or not it is consistent with the Constitution, or if it can be ratified," the former justice secretary said.

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