Patience is still the key to resolve the issues surrounding the West Philippine Sea (WPS), Sen. Imee Marcos said Thursday.

During the Kapihan sa Senado on Thursday, Marcos said the Philippines should exercise utmost restraint, tolerance and prudence, and at the same time open as many lines of communications as possible and explore all available options.

“Kinakailangan ng (We need a) very pragmatic and prudent approach. As a result, it is a work in progress and perhaps, that’s what the President (Ferdinad R. Marcos Jr.) had in mind, that we all calm down, de-escalate tensions in the West Philippine Sea and in the Taiwan Strait, not constantly talk about it and bark on the hopeless word war,” she told Senate reporters.

“Ang sabi nung iba (Others say) let’s stop poking the panda. Napipikon tayo at pikon na pikon na din sila. Anong gagawin natin? Magkakapikunan tayo, magi-initan ng ulo? Eh, saan mauuwi yan (We are both losing our tempers. What shall we do, be disgruntled with each other? Where would it lead)?) I think terrible, dangerous mistakes will be made if we carry on like this,” Marcos said.

The chairperson of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations clarified that she is not against the proposed Senate Resolution 659, but however noted that the Philippines already holds the Arbitral Ruling, and also has no assurance of securing the votes in the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) considering that other ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Countries) member states have their own claims in WPS.

“In my opinion, firstly as some senators and congressmen have mentioned, we already have in hand the Arbitral Judgement which is far more powerful and important. Furthermore, I also worry that we may not generate the votes necessary. Ang laking kahihiyan kapag natalo pa tayo sa (It will be a big shame if we are to lose in the) General Assembly,” she said.

Filed by Senate Deputy Minority Leader Risa Hontiveros, Senate Resolution 659 urges the national government, through the Department of Foreign Affairs, to sponsor a resolution before the UNGA calling on China to stop its harassment of Philippine vessels within the WPS.

However, its adoption by the Senate in the plenary was deferred on Wednesday after senators agree that it should be discussed further in a closed-door caucus on Monday. (PNA)

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