Lacierda said it is wrong to assume that the Philippines will end up losing the shoal stressing that this is the reason why the Philippine government is elevating the issue to the International Tribunal.
“We have definitely deescalated the tensions in the Panatag Shoal. Paano po mawawala sa atin? Klarong-klaro kaya natin inaakyat sa International Tribunal because we believe that the way out from this situation is to have a declaration mechanism as provided by international laws,” he said.
Insisting the country’s sovereign rights over the Panatag Shoal, Lacierda said the Aquino government wouldn’t allow the Chinese to put up garrisons there as what they did in Mischief Reef.
With respect to building relationships with China, Lacierda said Filipino diplomats are vigorously exerting efforts to talk with their Chinese counterparts.
“Marami tayong mga levels of exchange with the Chinese government, not only the Chinese government but also the Chinese community. So it’s not true that we have not repaired the relations in fact, we have good relations with the Chinese Embassy dito sa Pilipinas,” he said.
Lacierda also said the President has been receiving sufficient counsel from his advisers to deal with the issue.
“The President is very responsible and very prudent. The policy here, as the President has categorically stated is we want to de-escalate tensions in the Panatag Shoal,” Lacierda said.
With regards to the Chinese fishing vessels that continue to operate in the area, Lacierda said, the Philippine government is continuously documenting the actions of the Chinese before raising it to the International Tribunal. (www.ugnayan.com)