MANILA–Detained Senator Leila de Lima on Monday condemned the reported harassment of a Chinese naval vessel on Filipino fishermen in the Union Banks in the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea).
“The attack by a Chinese naval vessel (apparently a navy ship, and not a coast guard vessel), as confirmed by Rep. Gary Alejano after interviewing the fishermen, is a worrisome development,” De Lima said in a statement.
Magdalo partylist Rep. Gary Alejano earlier confirmed that a Chinese naval vessel drove away Filipino fishermen in the disputed territories last April 9.
De Lima said that the incident mirrored China’s daring and boldness to discard of the conventional coast guard actions in enforcing its territorial claims.
“Such escalates the situation in the Spratlys, and should be strongly condemned by the Philippine government,” the neophyte senator said.
She said that this situation could be a potential threat to the national security of the Philippines where it could lose its rights to maritime territories “by default.”
The senator, meanwhile, urged the government to “demand respect” from their Chinese counterparts.