Press Release
May 5, 2021

Drilon says PHL must continue with megaphone diplomacy to match China's gunboat diplomacy

Senate Minority Leader Franklin M. Drilon on Wednesday said the Philippine should continue to exert pressure on China and bring to the forefront China's illegal activities in the West Philippines Sea through "megaphone diplomacy", saying it might be the only recourse left for the Philippines to match the economic giant's "gunboat diplomacy".

"I would rather that we continue with the megaphone diplomacy because of the gunboat diplomacy of China," Drilon said in an interview with ANC's Headstart.

"We must continue to expose these illegal acts of China. That is why megaphone diplomacy, as the Chinese foreign minister would call it, is maybe the appropriate course that we have today so that we can keep China on its toes insofar as the world forum is concerned," Drilon stressed.

Drilon said this as he defended Foreign Affairs Sec. Teddy Locsin Jr.'s use of expletive-laden words against China on Twitter.

"I know Sec. Locsin very well. He is very patriotic. Maybe his emotional outburst is because of the frustration that he cannot do much except file diplomatic protests on this incursion of China," Drilon said in defense of the country's top diplomat.

Drilon said the statement of Sec. Locsin as well as that of Defense Sec. Delfin Lorenzana reflects the sentiment of the majority of Filipinos.

"We are all frustrated by what China is doing," he said, adding that China is not taking the country seriously.

"Again, the megaphone diplomacy is probably the only weapon that we have today. We must keep this in the consciousness not only of the Philippines but of the whole world," said Drilon, saying the country cannot compete with China's gunboat diplomacy insofar as the issue of the West Philippine Sea is concerned.

"We must keep this to the attention of the world so that China will realize that they are getting isolated with the way they have been conducting themselves, ignoring the judgment of the tribunal. Otherwise, if we just keep quiet, nothing will happen," he stressed.

The minority leader also described as "quite unfortunate" that there seems to be "different voices" in the government when it comes to the issue of China's illegal incursion into the country's territory.

"It is quite unfortunate, because you have two members of the cabinet, Sec. Locsin and Sec. Lorenzana, taking a strong position on this issue. On the other end of the scale, President Duterte who asserts that we must continue our cordial relations with China. This is quite unfortunate that we are talking of different voices," Drilon said.

Drilon also urged the country to lead a group of nations with claims on the West Philippines Sea or South China Sea, such as Vietnam and Taiwan, to confront China.

"What I'd like to see is the Philippine leading a group of nations to confront China using a multi-national approach, because we cannot confront China alone. Maghanap tayo ng mga kasamang nations which are similarly situated," Drilon said

"We should keep on reminding the world that China is not following the rule of law but the rule of might in this part of the world," he added.

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