MALACAÑANG warded off public apprehension of a brewing tension between the Philippines and China amid the continued incursion of Chinese vessels off the West Philippine Sea.
In a press briefing, presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said that supposed tension is just a fragment of the imagination of the opposition.
“Wala akong nakikitang tension. Ang tension ay ginagawa ng mga kritiko sa Pilipinas. May problema, pero wala naman pong tension,” Roque told reporters.
As this developed, the President hinted on ignoring criticisms following an advice given by former Senate President Juan Ponce Enrile who. on Monday, said the Philippines would “lose more” if it continued to antagonize China.
Despite the June 2019 incident where a Chinese fishing vessel sank Philippine fishing boat Gem-Ver 1 in Reed Bank, which is within the Philippines’ exclusive economic zone (EEZ), Roque remains firm that there is no cause for alarm.
The Filipino crew members were rescued by a passing Vietnamese vessel hours later.
Since early March, the Department of Foreign Affairs has been filing one diplomatic protest after another in the wake of the continued presence of hundreds of Chinese vessels in the West Philippine Sea, following a report of the National Task Force on the West Philippine Sea.
Oddly, though, Roque asserted that only the Foreign Affairs Secretary and himself – and not the NTF, has the authority to speak on the West Philippine Sea issue.