Poe noted that the Philippines must exhaust all measures to asset sovereignty over the West Philippine Sea, including asking for support from other countries and allies.
“We should bring more international attention to the issue. By merely being critical of the massing up of foreign vessels in the West Philippine Sea, we’ve already seen movement among our allies,” she said.
Meanwhile, Senator Panfilo Lacson also noted that President Rodrigo Duterte “cannot afford” to send the wrong message of “implied surrender or resignation” on the territorial dispute with China.
“He’s the leader of our country and he’s the commander-in-chief of our armed forces. He can think of anything and speak about anything except surrender,” Lacson said.
“Remember, we have an arbitral ruling in our favor and it’s permanent although it’s unenforceable. There are so many things to think about except surrender. We cannot wave the white flag, so to speak,” he added.
Lacson is not directly saying that Duterte is actually raising the white flag. However, he said the President’s recent remarks on the West Philippine Sea dispute give that “implication.”
Raise Philippine flag, not white flag in West Philippine Sea: senators
“If the officers and men of the AFP would take it that way, it could be disastrous to Philippine sovereignty,” he pointed out.
Lacson also said the Philippines could build its alliance with Japan which also has a territorial issue with China.
“Let’s work along that line. We should not feel we’re alone. We cannot really win a war against China. Population-wise less than 1/10 tayo ng China. And military-wise, talagang no contest. But why would we sulk in a corner and think along that line when there are stronger countries, even Europe, they are willing to assist us through the European Union?” he said.
Meanwhile, Senator Risa Hontiveros claimed that President Duterte has already surrendered the sovereignty of the Philippines.
“Sinuko na ng Presidente ang soberanya ng Pilipinas…Sa halip na singilin ang Beijing, tinutustusan pa ni Presidente ang ambisyon ng China tungo sa imperyalismo,” Hontiveros said in a statement.
(The President has already surrendered the sovereignty of the Philippines. Instead of complaining against Beijing, the President has helped the imperialist ambition of China.)
“Duwag ba siya o traydor? (Is he a coward or a traitor) Either way, he has failed our country. He has failed to defend our sovereignty, our seas, our people,” she noted.