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Bato urges Pinoys to pray as China ignores diplomatic protests

Given China's continuous disregard of Philippine diplomatic protests, Senator Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa said on Tuesday that the country needed divine intervention if it was to assert sovereignty over the West Philippine Sea (WPS).

The former national police chief-turned-lawmaker made the remark amid recent reports of Chinese militia vessels swarming off the Julian Felipe Reef.

“Magdasal tayo kay Lord. Magdasal tayo na wag tayong pabayaan ni Lord. Yun na lang,” Dela Rosa said in an interview with reporters.

“Wala na ‘yang diplomatic protests na ‘yan hindi naman nakikinig ‘yung mga Chinese na ‘yan,” he added.

(Let’s just pray that God will not forsake us. The diplomatic protests are worthless because China is not listening to us.)

Dela Rosa reiterated that the Philippines cannot start a war with China despite several incursions in the WPS.

“Ang hirap no? Ang hirap talaga. Hindi naman tayo pwede makipag giyera. So lahat ng diplomatic protest natin fell into deaf ears. Wala, hindi nila pinapakinggan,” he said.

(Our situation is difficult, right? We cannot wage a war against China. All of our diplomatic protests fall on deaf ears. They continue to ignore us.)

Earlier in the day, Senate Deputy Minority Leader Risa Hontiveros said the Philippine government must do more than just file diplomatic protests as China continues to ignore us.

Over the weekend, the Philippine Coast Guard reported that over 135 vessels of the Chinese Maritime Militia were spotted off Julian Felipe Reef.

Julian Felipe Reef is located 175 nautical miles west of Bataraza, Palawan, according to the PCG. It is considered a low tide elevation in the Kalayaan Island Group, over which the Philippines has sovereignty.

China said the operation of its maritime militia in the area is “justified and lawful” as it claimed that Julian Felipe Reef, which they called Niu’e Jiao, was part of China’s Nansha Qundao.

In August, the Senate unanimously adopted a resolution condemning China's incursion in the West Philippine Sea and its continued harassment of Filipino fishermen.

The measure also exhorted the Philippine government to take action in asserting its sovereign rights over the country’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ).

The adoption of the resolution came after senators deliberated extensively on the resolution filed by Hontiveros which urges the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) to call out China’s aggression in the West Philippine Sea (WPS) before the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA). — DVM, GMA Integrated News