De Lima laughs off Duterte’s claim that China is PH ‘protector’

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Opposition Senator Leila M. de Lima today laughed off the assertion made by President Duterte that the Philippines can depend on China as its “protector” against external threats to their national security and sovereignty.

In her latest Dispatch from Crame No. 302, De Lima criticized Duterte for assuring Filipinos that China will protect the Philippines from any threats instead of condemning China’s reported deployment of missiles in the Spratly Islands.

“This is hilarious, because the only country from whom the Philippines needs protecting is China. Only Duterte needs China’s protection. The rest of us needs protection from Duterte and China,” she said.

In a speech in Davao City, the President shared that China assured the Philippines that it will protect and defend the latter from external threats. However, recent US media reports revealed that China has quietly deployed cruise ship missiles and surface on three islands in the Spratly Islands, namely Fiery Cross (Kagitingan) Reef, Mischief (Panganiban) Reef and Subi (Zamora) Reef, where the Philippines is one of six claimants.

Among all the other countries in the world, De Lima said China is the only one that has openly and persistently shown disrespect to the international law, the Philippine territory, and the Filipino people.

“No other country has violated international law by building military bases on artificial islands within our Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) on the basis of a maritime claim already declared illegal under international law.

“No other country among all our neighbors in the South China Sea has unilaterally pushed its maritime borders more than 1,000 kilometers, from 1,400 kilometers to almost just 300 kilometers, by claiming the whole South China Sea

“No other country in the world is threatening our territorial integrity by installing missiles on our backyard. No other country is planning the deployment of tactical fighter and attack aircrafts in the Spratlys capable of reaching Manila in minutes,” she said.

The former justice secretary said Duterte, who is fond of China, is indirectly giving up Philippines’ claims over the Spratlys Islands, Scarborough Shoal, and the country’s entire Exclusive Economic Zone in the WPS by failing to stand against Chinese incursion in the WPS.

Even with the decision of United Nations (UN) Arbitral Tribunal invalidating China’s claim and ruling that Philippines has exclusive sovereign rights over WPS, China refuses to comply with the verdict.

De Lima likewise expressed support to the the initiative of the Senate leadership to conduct a legislative inquiry on the deployment of Chinese missiles in the Spratlys.

“It is time for the AFP to clarify once and for all if it still intends to defend our remaining forces in the West Philippine Sea against China and traitors in our midst,” she said.

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