Press Release
June 12, 2018


Coinciding with the country's observance of its 120th year of independence, Akbayan Senator Risa Hontiveros on Tuesday called the Duterte government's foreign policy, particularly its dealings with China and the West Philippine Sea, a complete disaster and a threat to Philippine independence and sovereignty.

Hontiveros issued the statement after videos captured China's Coast Guard taking the catch of Filipino fishermen on Panatag Shoal off the coast of Zambales province. The Senator was also responding to reports that a Chinese military aircraft had landed at the Davao International raising concerns that it might have breached the country's diplomatic and security protocols.

"Palpak at isang malaking banta sa ating kasarinlan ang palasukong foreign policy ni Pangulong Duterte. Palpak itong ipagtanggol ang kaligtasan at kabuhayan ng ating mga mangingisda. Palpak itong ipaglaban ang soberenya at teritorya ng bansa," Hontiveros said.

"It is a complete foreign policy disaster. It has squandered our historic victory at the United Nations (UN) Arbitral Tribunal. It betrays our heroes' struggle for independence against foreign colonizers. It is a policy of annexation to a foreign power," Hontiveros added.

"Foreign policy audit"

The opposition Senator called for an audit of the Duterte administration's foreign policy. She explained that a foreign policy audit could scrutinize what kind of diplomatic actions were undertaken by our foreign affairs officials against China, and what diplomatic platforms and channels were used.

Hontiveros also said that a foreign policy audit would determine if the Duterte administration's foreign policy framework is in compliance with our international obligations, particularly the arbitral tribunal ruling on the West Philippine Sea.

"Amid the timidity, silence and opacity about how Government carries its foreign policy work, we need a public, participatory and comprehensive assessment of its foreign policy directions and implementation. It's time to audit its foreign policy, especially the so-called 50-100 diplomatic protests and actions undertaken by the foreign affairs department vis-a-vis China. In light of all these threats to and violations of our national sovereignty and territorial integrity, the public deserves to know if the government is really standing up for us," Hontiveros said.

"President Duterte and his foreign affairs officials have the responsibility to inform the people about their foreign affairs strategy to respond to China's aggressive actions in the region. The people need to see and be assured that our government is really upholding the country's national interests," Hontiveros concluded.

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