Solon hits Duterte admin’s ‘silence’ on China militarization of disputed sea
A lawmaker condemned on Monday the alleged “inaction and deafening silence” of President Rodrigo Duterte’s administration as new photographs bared continuous militarization in seven reefs claimed by the Philippines in the Spratly archipelago.
In a statement, Bayan Muna Rep. Carlos Isagani Zarate rebuked the Duterte administration for its “see-no-evil; speak-no-evil; hear-no-evil” attitude on “this blatant violation of our sovereignty.”
“Is this inaction and deafening silence the result of the now regular pilgrimage of administration officials to Beijing?” Zarate asked.
“The military might may not be on our side but certainly we can possibly rally a strong and unified legal, moral and diplomatic front among our neighbors,” he added.
The Davao-based solon has also asked both Houses of Congress to launch a diplomatic offensive to protest the “instability” caused by Chinese aggressive acts in the region.
“As standing members of the Asian Parliamentary Association (AIPO) and the Inter Parliamentary Union (IPU), we should use these venues to gather international support to stop the Chinese militarization of West Philippine Sea,” the progressive solon said.
“Congress has the duty to look into the reported Chinese military build up with the end in view of strengthening our position to defend our sovereignty and territorial integrity,” he added.
An exclusive report by the Inquirer has revealed several authentic aerial photos of China’s “almost finished transformation” of seven disputed reefs in the South China Sea into air and naval bases.
The report said the photos were taken between June and December 2017.
Malacañang earlier downplayed China’s militarization of the South China Sea in exchange for economic assistance, which Security analyst Jose Antonio Custodio had questioned.
“We are talking [about] trillions of dollars [in] natural resources and we are compromising our territorial claims. At the end of the day, these are not Chinese grants but loans so you don’t have to be a rocket scientist to see the disadvantageous position the Philippines is putting itself into,” Custodio said in the report. /je
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