MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte is downplaying China’s incursions and bullying of the Philippines, Magdalo Rep. Gary Alejano said Thursday.
“Chinese forces, military and coast guard, are illegally entering our Exclusive Economic Zone yet our DFA Secretary and the President could only respond that we assume good faith in their actions,” Alejano said in a statement.
“The administration has been downplaying the situation in the West Philippine Sea while China continues to push us into the corner,” he said.
Alejano was reacting to the statement of Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana on Wednesday that the president ordered the military to halt its construction of temporary shelters on sandbars just off Pag-asa Island in August following a protest from China, which said that such actions were in violation of an agreement to maintain the status quo in the contested waters.
Alejano said that the Philippines immediately stopped its actions because of a “minute reaction” from Beijing while Chinese forces continued with their illegal incursion into Manila’s Exclusive Economic Zone. Recently, China has been found to be unceasing in its installation of military equipment in Philippine waters.