‘Diplomatic protests vs China not in vain’

Teodoro Locsin Jr., Ambassador of the Philippines to the United Kingdom and Ireland, was yesterday’s guest on Daily Tribune’s Straight Talk. | Photograph by Analy Labor for the Daily Tribune @tribunephl_ana

Diplomatic protests filed by the government of the Philippines against China were not in vain contrary to what was perceived by many, former Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. said.

Locsin, speaking on the Daily Tribune’s Straight Talk on Tuesday stressed that the filing of diplomatic protests against a superpower country like China does not equate to throwing paper at a brick wall.

“When you file (diplomatic protests) that it’s on record, that you protest that incursion into your territory. If you don’t, you’re basically acknowledging maybe they’re right,” he explained.

The Philippines maintained a warmer relationship with China during the term of former President Rodrigo Duterte, despite numerous incidents of harassment to Filipino fisherfolks by the Chinese Coast Guard.

Under the Duterte administration, the Philippines was able to enjoy loan grants from the People’s Republic of China in support of its flagship projects in the “Build, Build, Build,” program.

According to the Department of Finance, China’s total financing for the Philippines stands at $1.1 billion for the completion of multiple public infrastructures across the country.

Locsin, who is now serving as Philippine Ambassador to the United Kingdom and Ireland, said contrary to claims of critics of the former administration, diplomatic protests filed by the government were not useless.

“I know some traitors are saying that, Oh, it’s useless. What did it achieve for us? Well, we kept our rights alive,” he said.

The Philippines has issued a total of 457 note verbales against China from 2016 to 2022, including 68 note verbales sent by the Philippines under the administration of President Ferdinand Marcos Jr., according to the Department of Foreign Affairs.

‘Dare to cowards
The country’s former top diplomat noted that the purpose of the filing of diplomatic protests is to keep the county’s assertion to the West Philippines Sea.

“So, you just keep doing it. It’s not supposed to win, but it keeps your right fresh,” he stressed.

In 2016, the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague, Netherlands favored the country’s claims in the West Philippine Sea, rejecting China’s nine-dash line claim.

Locsin dared those who were criticizing the government of the Philippines for only issuing note verbales against China whenever an incident of incursion will occur in the West Philippine Sea.

“Okay, I will accept those who say, diplomatic protests are useless if I see those cowards, dressed like our soldiers in camouflage, and going straight for the Chinese ships,” he said.

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