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Palace rejects Hontiveros call to recall diplomats to China

MANILA, Philippines — Malacañang rejected on Thursday the appeal of Senator Risa Hontiveros to recall Philippine diplomats in China amid the Recto Bank “collision” issue.

“Lahat ng options kino-consider ‘yan (We’ve considered that option). We don’t need the advice of the good senator on that,” Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo said in a Palace briefing.

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In a statement, Hontiveros said President Rodrigo Duterte should order the recall of the country’s ambassador and consuls in China after the reported “collision” between a Chinese fishing vessel and a Filipino fishing boat at Recto Bank in the West Philippine Sea.

The opposition senator stressed that if Duterte could order the recall of the country’s envoy and consuls in Canada over a dispute on garbage, he can do the same “to defend and secure the lives of our fisherfolk and the country’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.”

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READ: China fishing vessel sinks Filipino boat after ‘collision’ in West Philippine Sea

China, according to Panelo, has yet to reach out to the Philippines following the incident.

The Palace official, however, called on Chinese Ambassador to the Philippines Zhao Jianhua to explain his government’s position on the issue.

“I think we don’t have to summon him. If he’s listening now, he should explain,” Panelo said.
The government has already filed a diplomatic protest against China over the incident.

If the “collision” were proven to be intentional, Panelo said the Philippines may consider cutting off diplomatic ties with China. (Editor: Eden Estopace)

READ: Palace: PH may ‘cut off’ ties with China if Recto Bank’ collision’ found intentional

READ: Locsin fires off diplomatic protest after ‘collision’ of Chinese, PH vessels

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