Former Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert Del Rosario on Tuesday asked the Duterte administration to have more confidence in the Filipinos' capacity to make the "supreme sacrifice" if a more powerful nation threatened Philippine sovereignty.
In a statement, the top diplomat of Duterte's predecessor called on Filipinos to let President Rodrigo Duterte and China know that its militarization in the South China Sea, including in areas within the Philippines' exclusive economic zone, was unacceptable.
"Our government needs to listen to its people. Our northern neighbor needs to listen to the Filipino people. And finally, all our traditional partners and friends – who are waiting for a united voice - need to hear from us," Del Rosario said.
"As we speak, to begin with, nearly all Filipinos will agree that our foreign policy should be revisited. Let us say so," he added.
Last week, China's Air Force announced that it landed a bomber on its largest base in the South China Sea for the first time, which is located on Woody Island in the Paracel group in the Spratlys.
Duterte has repeatedly said pressing the Philippines' claims would mean "trouble" and claimed that he was making efforts to address the situation.
Del Rosario criticized the government saying it should be prepared to somehow inflict harm against on nation that threatened the Philippines.
"As we had previously said, we are opposed to war - as we should be. But if threatened by the use of force, we should be ready to inflict, at the very least, a bloody nose on any attacker who is out to harm us," Del Rosario said.
Del Rosario added Duterte should trust his people more on their willingness to sacrifice themselves for the good of the country.
"It truly behooves us then to ask our leadership to have more confidence in our people. To support our president, to secure our nation and to ensure the future of all Filipinos, it must be believed that indeed there are those of us who are prepared to make the supreme sacrifice for our country, especially when called upon," Del Rosario said.
Del Rosario said Duterte's decision to set aside the 2016 ruling of the Permanent Court of Arbitration in favor of the Philippines has allowed the country to be at a disadvantage in its diplomatic ties with China.
"Since an early decision was made by the incumbent government to shelve the arbitral outcome, not only did we lose opportunities to advance our position, but we also found ourselves being thrown into reverse gear, thus allowing ourselves to be fully disadvantaged," Del Rosario said.
The former top diplomat proposed that the Armed Forces of the Philippines' acquisition Brahmos Supersonic Missiles from India is a "good starting point" in beefing up the country's territorial defense.
Del Rosario agreed with Acting Chief Justice Antonio Carpio on the need to file a diplomatic protest against China over its deployment of a bomber in the disputed waters.
Del Rosario and Carpio were members of the Philippine delegation at the arbitral tribunal in The Hague, Netherlands which invalidated China's nine-dash claim in the South China Sea. —NB, GMA News