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Filipinos, Gov’t unite on one issue: China’s incursion on WPS except for Harry Roque, or maybe for Pres. Rodrigo Duterte

Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana spoke out against Beijing’s envoy in the Philippines for having 44 ships still anchored in Julian Felipe Reef.

It’s rare for Netizens and the Philippine government to agree on something. The activities of Beijing in the West Philippine Sea have united them.

Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana spoke out against Beijing’s envoy in the Philippines for having 44 ships still anchored in Julian Felipe Reef.

He told the Chinese ships to leave the reef, seeing as Chinese Ambassador Huang Xilian’s “rough weather” reason is no longer holding water.

Lorenzana would double down on his call for the Chinese “fishing vessels” to leave Julian Felipe Reef and the West Philippine Sea yesterday, April 4, with a strong statement.

“The utter disregard by the Chinese Embassy in Manila of International Law, especially the UNCLOS to which China is a party (to), is appalling,” Lorenzana said in a statement.

He added that Beijing’s claims—the nine-dash line and its alleged historical ownership—have no factual or legal basis, having been rejected by the arbitral tribunal.

The Chinese Embassy in the Philippines has insisted on its historical claim of what it calls Niu’e Jiao, which it says is a part of the Nansha Islands.

They also insisted that “rough sea conditions” have forced Chinese fishermen to “take shelter near the reef.”

The Chinese Embassy adds that parties involved should “make constructive efforts” and “avoid unprofessional remarks”–no doubt–it referenced to Lorenzana’s statements.

While Netizens are no stranger to giving Xilian an earful, rarely Netizens will side with a government official, especially with Malacañang not even stating the matter until today.

It’s an issue rooted in the Filipino psyche that even critics of the Duterte administration are taking the side of one of his most ardent defenders—at least when it came to the COVID-19 response.

Duterte’s harshest critic, Sen. Leila De Lima, has brought up Duterte’s silence on the matter.

Vice President Leni Robredo has called Lorenzana’s bold statements against Beijing a “source of comfort.”

Meanwhile, Sen. Panfilo Lacson leads the Senate in throwing its support for Lorenzana.

Most people, however, still question Malacañang’s true allegiance, as President Rodrigo Duterte has yet to issue his statement.

Even Palace spokesperson Harry Roque’s allegiance has been brought into question, especially after his recent statement.

Currently, they are working on resolving the issues on the West Philippine Sea peacefully, according to Roque during his daily press briefing.

“Ang posisyon po ng presidente, paninindigan natin ang karapatan pero hindi ito isang bagay para tayo ay gumamit ng dahas,” Roque said.

He added that Duterte is confident in the “friendship” he has forged with China, and that this will lead the way to a peaceful resolution.

Chinese “fishing vessels” have been anchored in Julian Felipe Reef since March 7, with Xilian previously saying it was because of rough sea conditions.

The Armed Forces of the Philippines’ aerial surveys and satellite imagery have continuously shown otherwise.

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