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Solon slams US-PH war games near disputed shoal


Bayan Muna Representative Neri Colmenares. INQUIRER.net FILE PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines—The war games between the United States and the Philippines will only “heighten tension” in the West Philippine Sea, a leftwing lawmaker said Thursday.

Bayan Muna Partylist Representative Neri Colmenares said Manila “should strongly assert our territory against China” as he branded the two superpowers as world bullies.

“We should not allow a bully to replace another bully,” said Colmenares.

A US destroyer will join the Philippine Navy’s flagship for war games starting Thursday. The exercises are a boost for the Philippines’ poorly equipped military as it struggles with perceived rising Chinese aggression, and follows repeated pleas to longtime ally the United States for protection.

“The goal of these exercises is to further boost cooperation… between the two armed forces and further streamline responses to counter-terrorism and maritime security,” Deputy Presidential spokeswoman Abigail Valte said.

Colmenares denounced “President Benigno Aquino III’s subservience, undermining of our sovereignty and the peaceful resolution of the dispute.”

“The US troops should be pulled out and we will file a resolution to junk the Visiting Forces Agreement,” he said.

The six-day exercises are an annual event but this year they will be held off the west coast of Luzon, close to Panatag Shoal which China insists it owns.

The shoal is a tiny set of rocks and islets in the West Philippine Sea, also known as South China Sea, 230 kilometers east of Luzon and 1,200 kilometers from the nearest major Chinese landmass.

China claims nearly all of the strategically vital West Philippine Sea, even waters close to the shores of its smaller neighbors. With Agence France-Presse

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Tags: China , Military , Panatag Shoal , Philippines , Scarborough Shoal , South China Sea , US , War Games , West Philippine Sea

  • Chrisnadal19

    Bayan Muna protectors of China?

  • Jan

    in war there are patriots but hopefully there will be no traitors. in peace it will be just the same.

    • chingnarciso

      don’t count on it, wala pang war marami ng traitors…basahin mo lang ang kanilang mga post dito sa forum na ito.

  • leonsayanib

    G. A. G. O.

  • $31552910

    China’s nine-dash line territorial claim has been described as the biggest territorial grab since WW2. It is a serious challenge to international law and a threat to freedom of navigation. China’s rise as an economic and military power presents a new challenge to peace and stability in the Asia Pacific region. The Philippines occupies a strategic location in the West Pacific. Its proximity to the maritime territories in Kalayaan Islands and Panatag Shoal gives the Philippines tactical advantage. To further secure its vast maritime territories, the Philippines has to acquire its own deterrent capabilities that will make it unacceptably costly for China to attack or bully the Philippines. The estimated $3 billion annual defense budget of the Philippines is more than enough to acquire coastal mobile anti-ship defense systems and mobile air-defense systems and other defense assets as long as it is not pocketed by corrupt generals and defense officials. The Philippines can broaden its strategic partnerships with other major powers like its strategic partnership with Japan. It is significant that Japan is providing at least ten patrol ships to the Philippines. The Philippines is also acquiring at least 12 modern fighter jets from South Korea. The naval exercises being held near Panatag Shoal by the United States with the token participation of the Philippines are more of a promotional show for US basing arrangements and more US military access in the Philippines. The war games may serve the strategic interests of the United States in its “pivot” or “rebalance” in the Asia Pacific region but not necessarily the strategic interests of the Philippines in its maritime territories. There is little for the Philippines to gain in the war games unless it acquires more naval and air assets of its own to defend its territorial integrity. There is no advantage to having foreign military presence in the country if it complicates the peaceful resolution of territorial disputes and undermines national sovereignty and is against the national interests. There is no need for overstaying forces agreements to boost cooperation in maritime security. The Philippines can acquire modern defense assets and technology from various countries and develop some on its own, like the fast-attack crafts that it has built, to have a credible defense posture.

  • band1do

    Its in our territory, we can do as we want. So don’t worry about China and shut your mouths you communists pigs.

  • jorgii0550

    Bayad Muna is now openly showing it’s true colors (Red)……We are empowering the NPA/communist party by giving them millions of funds through pork funds.

    This is the reason why we need to abolish this party list system…..it’s just a waste of tax payers money.

  • johndoe_phil

    These leftist people should not be given some pork barrel. They will just use the money to arm their comrades in the mountains, extort businesses and displace civilians. They are only after their welfare and China’s!!! This guy should be investigated for treason….

  • pepito gwaps

    Some people still don’t know the purpose of self defense. It is the oldest natural law of survival even the flower got thorns.

  • Garaybul

    Technically, this guy Neri Colmenares, is not a Flipino anymore. He can do so much harm in our country than any good and should be watched, frankly.

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