MANILA MalacaAang on Thursday shrugged off calls made by a senator asking the Duterte administration to consider recalling Philippine ambassador and consuls to China after a Chinese fishing vessel crew allegedly abandoned a sinking Filipino fishing boat in a "collision" in Recto Bank (Reed Bank) in the West Philippine Sea.
Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo, however, said he will leave the decision to withdraw envoys to Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr.
We don't need the advice of the good senator on that. Bahala na si (We'll leave it to) Secretary Locsin, Panelo said.
Senator Risa Hontiveros asked the government to withdraw Philippine envoys to China, condemning the acts of the China crew as despicable and inhumane.
Panelo said the government is considering all options to resolve issues between the Philippines and China after the collision.
He also rejected anew former Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario's suggestion to consider multilateral talks with other parties to make China's leadership accountable.
Panelo insisted that bilateral negotiations between the Philippines and China are currently the most effective way to resolve the dispute over the contested waters.
He (del Rosario) doesn't have to tell us what to do. We know what to do, Panelo said.
Dapat ginawa nila 'yan noon, noong sila'y nandiyan pa (They should have done it before when they were still in office), he added.
On April, University of the Philippines' Institute for Maritime Affairs and Law of the Sea Director Jay Batongbacal suggested that it is time to go multilateral since the bilateral approach is ineffective.
Panelo justified President Rodrigo Duterte's preference for bilateral negotiations over multilateral talks with other parties since the sea row is a problem the two countries should settle on their own.
Panelo earlier asked Chinese authorities to sanction the crew of a Chinese fishing vessel, describing the abandonment of a sinking Filipino ship outrageous, barbaric, and uncivilized.
Locsin, meanwhile, said his agency has already filed a diplomatic protest against China over the collision of its vessel with a Philippine vessel. (PNA)
Source: Philippines News Agency