MANILA should continue its “megaphone diplomacy” to bring to the international stage Beijing’s illegal activities in the West Philippines Sea (WPS) and match China’s “gunboat diplomacy” in the area.
Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon stressed this after Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin chided the Philippines for resorting to “megaphone diplomacy” in addressing the territorial dispute between the two countries in the WPS.
He said the Philippine government should continue to expose China’s illegal acts in the WPS, specifically the lingering presence of Chinese vessels in the WPS and in bullying Filipino fishermen in the area.
“We could not confront them. The only available peaceful means to us is to keep the issue in the forefront,” Drilon said in a television interview.
The senator stressed, “I would rather that we continue with the megaphone diplomacy because of the gunboat diplomacy of China.”
“We should keep on reminding the world that China is not following the rule of law but the rule of might in this part of the world,” Drilon said.
“What I’d like to see is the Philippines leading a group of nations to confront China using a multi-national approach, because we cannot confront China alone. Maghanap tayo ng mga kasamang (Let’s look for other) nations which are similarly situated,” he said.
The Senate minority leader also urged the Philippines to lead a group of nations with claims on the South China Sea, such as Vietnam and Taiwan, to confront China.
Drilon defended Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr.’s use of “expletive-laden words” in denouncing China on Twitter for ignoring the Philippines’ demand for Chinese ships to leave the WPS.
“I know Secretary Locsin very well. He is very patriotic. Maybe his emotional outburst is because of the frustration that he cannot do much except file diplomatic protests on this incursion of China,” he said.
Drilon said the statement of Locsin, as well as that of Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana, reflected the sentiment of the majority of Filipinos. “We are all frustrated by what China is doing.”
“Again, the megaphone diplomacy is probably the only weapon that we have today. We must keep this in the consciousness not only of the Philippines but of the whole world,” he said.
“We must keep this to the attention of the world so that China will realize that they are getting isolated with the way they have been conducting themselves, ignoring the judgment of the tribunal. Otherwise, if we just keep quiet, nothing will happen,” he added.