Press Release
February 27, 2023

Hontiveros to DFA: Broker updated security agreements with international partners to defend PH from China's aggression

Senator Risa Hontiveros on Monday urged the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) to broker updated security agreements with different countries that can help defend the Philippines from China's continued aggression.

"We have to exhaust all possible ways to defend the Philippines from China's shameless actions. A security agreement can serve as a defensive framework that would provide for joint patrols and training of our troops so we are prepared to work as part of a team should tensions escalate," Hontiveros said.

"Araw-araw na ang pang-haharass at pambubully ng Tsina sa ating mga mangingisda at mga coast guard. We cannot do nothing," the senator added.

During a security conference in Germany, DFA Secretary Enrique Manalo said that the harassment of Filipino fishermen and coast guard personnel is a "daily situation that we face." He then called on the United Nations to help create greater awareness on the importance of upholding the UNCLOS and sustaining a rules-based order in our seas.

"Besides creating awareness, we, in the Philippines, also have to lead in taking tangible steps that can urgently help our citizens who are directly affected by China's aggression. Kung hindi natin ipinagtatanggol ang ating karapatan sa sarili nating karagatan, para narin nating pinagkaitan ng hanapbuhay ang ating mga mangingisda, ating mga mamamayan," Hontiveros said.

The senator said that our country should not only depend on the Mutual Defense Treaty with the US in protecting our sovereign rights in the WPS, emphasizing that similar agreements can also be forged with other countries that want to maintain peace and stability in the region.

"Dapat mapalakas na ang ating pag-uugnayan sa mga karatig-bansa na lubos ding maapektuhan kung hindi huminto ang pambabastos ng Tsina. China will not stop until we surrender the WPS, so we must also show her that we will never stand down," the senator said.

"Sa labang ito, nag-iisa ang Tsina, habang tayo, napakaraming kakampi. Let us maximize the reinforcement of the international community and consolidate all this support once and for all," Hontiveros concluded.

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