On Tuesday, a lawmaker said that the Philippine government should demand compensation from China for the damage its vessels have supposedly caused in the reefs in the West Philippine Sea
“We should also demand compensation from China for the damage … inflicted in our reefs. These hundreds of ships surely made a lot of damage,” Surigao del Norte Representative Robert “Ace” Barbers said in a statement.
“Not only that, we should already bring charges against them in the proper bodies to demand that they leave our territory and make reparations for building structures in our reefs. This we must do to show the world that we did not abandon the arbitral ruling and that we continue to claim our territory,” he added.
Barbers cited an incident before where a US ship ran aground in one of the Philippines’ reefs and the government made the US pay for the damage it had caused.
On Monday, Barbers slammed China for saying that Julian Felipe Reef is part of China’s Nansha Islands or Spratlys in the South China Sea.
He praised Defense chief Delfin Lorenzana for the latter’s condemnation of the continuing presence of Chinese vessels in the Philippine territory, but he said Lorenzana must walk the talk and make actions on the matter.
According to Barbers, a verbal tussle with China is not enough.
“We should summon the Chinese ambassador asap and demand an explanation. We should also send our naval ships in the area to protect our fishermen, our marine resources and our territorial integrity,” Barbers said.
“We have filed more than enough diplomatic protests to no avail. It is now time for more concrete actions. In other words, we should ‘walk the talk,'” he added.
Lorenzana has been demanding that Chinese vessels should immediately leave Julian Felipe Reef, which is located 175 nautical miles off Bataraza, Palawan.
Early this month, more than 200 Chinese militia vessels were spotted there.