July 09, 2019
Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. is indubitably right to take offense at recent actions by France and the United Kingdom that bypassed or made light of the authority and sovereign interest of our Republic.
For one, Secretary Locsin took issue with the decision by French and British ships to patrol the South China (West Philippine) Sea without first seeking permission from our government.
When called out on this, the ship commanders justified their action as protective of “Philippine sovereignty.”
Second, Secretary Locsin complained that France and the UK disparaged Philippine sovereignty when they both supported a United Nations Human Rights Council resolution to all for an investigation of all alleged human rights violations in the Philippines.
France and the UK, along with 25 other countries, supported Iceland’s draft resolution at the ongoing UNHRC meeting in Geneva, Switzerland on the promotion and protection of human rights in the Philippines amid the ongoing war on illegal drugs.
Our foreign secretary declared that this action at the UN undermines a most fundamental aspect of our country’s sovereignty: “its indisputable, unquestionable right to protect the innocent from criminal elements by any means efficient to achieve the latter’s extinction.”
This in our view is a very important message to relay to other countries, including those that are nominally and traditionally our friends in the international community.
The unannounced presence of British and French ships in the West Philippine Sea was irregular without Philippine consent. The ships’ behavior was provocative, and to explain it away as a move designed to protect Philippine sovereignty is patronizing and insolent.
The issue of French and British support for the UNHRC resolution is a tad more serious. The secretary said the two European naval powers appear to be testing our resolve by supporting Iceland’s draft resolution seeking an investigation of the Philippine government’s war against illegal drugs.
“Fishing does not undermine sovereignty anywhere near as much as interfering in the basic state function to eliminate crime by any means efficient to achieve its extinction,” Locsin wrote on Twitter.
“We stay in the Western camp on the assurance its presence in the South China Sea upholds our country’s sovereignty to solve our problems as we see fit. We presented our case; it’s not been debunked.”
The secretary also reiterated his earlier claim that those supporting the UN investigation are on the payroll of the drug trade.
“How else can they mobilize on that scale against a justifiable war — for nothing but a war is an adequate response — to drugs. Go ahead, make our day,” he tweeted.
The high number of countries that are supporting the draft resolution appears designed to dazzle us.
But now that we have raised the issue of national sovereignty over our affairs, Iceland’s move looks destined to go nowhere. The issue has already been dismissed at the world body.
This is not the first time that Iceland has tried to catch our attention. Some of us frankly wonder why Iceland takes so much interest in our country. Most Filipinos do not even know where this land of ice and fire is located.
It may be that Secretary Locsin’s charge that the drug trade may be funding a negative campaign against the Philippines is probably more worthy of investigation and may reveal more facts.
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