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Ex-DFA chief Del Rosario on Reed Bank incident: We must now consider a 'multilateral approach'

Former Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario on Thursday said the government must now consider a "multilateral approach" following the Reed Bank incident where a Filipino fishing boat sank after it was hit by a Chinese vessel last Sunday.

"We must also now consider a multilateral approach. For instance, how much longer must our people wait for our government to seek a resolution from the UN General Assembly to promote our arbitral tribunal outcome which is now an integral part of international law?" Del Rosario said in a statement.

Del Rosario underscored that the Philippine government must accept that China has absolutely no respect for the rule of law.

"What is obvious is that Goliath, the neighborhood bully, will continue to rear its ugly head to intimidate our poor fishermen. We need to find a way to hold China's leadership accountable," he said.

But Malacañang rebuffed Del Rosario's call.

"He doesn’t have to tell us what to do. We know what to do. Dapat ginawa nila ‘yan noon, noong sila’y nandiyan pa," presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo said at a news conference when asked to comment on the matter.

Del Rosario, together with former Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales, earlier filed a complaint against Chinese President Xi Jinping before the International Criminal Court in The Hague for allegedly committing crimes against humanity.

Due to the incident in the Reed Bank, Del Rosario expressed hope that the case against Xi and other Chinese officials would be treated with greater urgency.

Meanwhile, Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro "Teddyboy" Locsin Jr. said he has already filed a diplomatic protest over the incident. 

Malacañang on Wednesday called for an investigation into the incident and said that proper sanctions must be imposed against the Chinese crew. — Anna Felicia Bajo and Virgil Lopez/RSJ/KBK, GMA News