Senators urge diplomatic protest vs. China after Reporter’s Notebook team shooed by Chinese Coast Guard - The Daily Sentry

Friday, November 23, 2018

Senators urge diplomatic protest vs. China after Reporter’s Notebook team shooed by Chinese Coast Guard

In a report of “24 Oras” on Thursday, GMA News reporter Jun Veneracion narrated how his team was prohibited by Chinese men to take videos and conduct interviews in the Scarborough or Panatag Shoal.
Senators Francis Pangilinan, Antonio Trillanes IV and Joel Villanueva / Composite photos from ABS-CBN, The Manila Times and

Narration of Veneracion

From a distance, we saw a China Coast Guard vessel moving toward our direction as we sailed closer to our destination,” Veneracion said.

“One of the Chinese crew members, though smiling, hollered and said that we were in “the sea area of the People’s Republic of China.”

"Without the permission of China, you cannot carry out the interview here," the Chinese said.

“But this is within the exclusive economic zone of the Philippines,” I told the Chinese officer. In response, he game me a sheepish smile.”
China Coast Guard shoos away Reporter's Notebook team from Scarborough waters / Photo from GMA Network

“Sensing that the conversation was going nowhere, I asked him to give us  30 minutes to pack up our things.”

“He agreed but without provacation added, “If you don’t leave here, we will make a forced matter.”

"I cut him off, saying “you need not warn us, sir,” Veneracion said.

File a diplomatic protest

On Friday, at least three Senators said that the government should file a diplomatic protest after a China Coast Guard prevented the crew of Veneracion’s documentary.

The government should not simply be as meek as a lamb in the face of these assaults on our sovereignty,” Senator Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan said.

Senator Antonio Trillanes IV said the act of Chinese authorities “are clearly acts of aggression.”

Yes, the DFA  must file a diplomatic protest about the matter,” he said.

Senator Joel Villanueva a diplomatic protest should be filed.

In fact, this is a good opportunity for us to emphasize our claims to the West Philippine Sea,” he said.

AFP not turning a blind eye

Meanwhile, the Armed Forces of the Philippines said it is not turning a blind eye on the incident.

"Hindi naman natin pinagsasawalang -kibo o pinagsasawalang-bahala ang mga reported incident katulad niyan," military spokesperson Brigadier General Edgard Arevalo told reporters at a press conference.

"Subalit, tandaan po natin na hindi lang naman po ang Armed Forces of the Philippines ang unit ng ating pamahalaan na tumatalakay sa ganitong suliranin at nagbibigay-soluyson sa ganitong mga pangyayari," Arevalo added.
Brigadier General Edgard Arevalo / Photo from UNTV

At the press conference, Arevalo said the issue must be addressed by an "inter-agency" effort and deferred the matter to the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA).

"I would like to defer to the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) upang sila mismo ang magbigay ng  tuwirang comment hingil sa bagay na 'yan, pero on the part of the AFP, im telling you na hindi natin pinagsasawalang kibo ang mga bagay na ganyan," the spokesperson said.

"Sapagkat alam naman po natin...sila ay ating mga kababayan at ginagawa lang nila ang kanilang tungkulin, but to comment doon sa aksyon na dapat gawin ng ating pamahalaan, hindi po puwedeng sagutin ng Armed Forces of the Philiipines yan just by itself," he added.