Former Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario joined the clamor for the Philippine government to file a diplomatic protest against China’s landing of bombers on Woody Island within the disputed areas of South China Sea/West Philippine Sea.
“Granted that there is a divergence of views on responding to the developments in the South China Sea, the landing of bombers in Woody Island serves, at the very least, to raise tensions and destabilize our region,” the former official said. “ It is in our interest to file a protest as we should be endeavoring to galvanize the support of countries that, like the Philippines, are strongly opposed to the militarization of the South China Sea,” he stressed.
On the question of territory lost during the incumbency of the Duterte administration, Del Rosario said he believed that Sandy Cay is within the territorial sea of Pag-Asa. Under the Baselines Law, Pag-Asa is Philippine territory, he said.
The Philippines lost control of Sandy Cay in late 2017 when President Duterte ordered the cessation of construction there due to the vehement reaction from China, Del Rosario said. Chinese coast guard vessels have since then surrounded Sandy Cay at all times, effectively seizing physical control of Sandy Cay from the Philippines. “I think that a very strong protest then should have been filed,” Del Rosario said.