Solons hit Duterte admin’s ‘subservience’ to China’s ‘invasion’ of PH
The Duterte administration’s “inaction” over China’s continued militarization of the Philippine-claimed reefs in the South China Sea (West Philippine Sea) would mean “subservience” to China and is “tantamount to invading the country,” opposition lawmakers warned on Friday.
Caloocan City (2nd District) Rep. Edgar Erice, Magdalo Rep. Gary Alejano, and Bayan Muna Rep. Carlos Zarate condemned China’s reported installation of anti-ship cruise missiles and surface-to-air missile systems on Kagitingan, Zamora, and Panganiban reefs – three of the seven reefs claimed by the Philippines that China had seized and transformed into artificial islands.
READ: China deploys missiles on 3 PH-claimed reefs
Citing United States intelligence sources, US-based news agency CNBC earlier reported that the missiles were moved to Fiery Cross Reef, Subi Reef, and Mischief Reef within the past 30 days.
Fiery Cross Reef, Subi Reef, and Mischief Reef are the international names of Kagitingan, Zamora, and Panganiban reefs, respectively.
“The installation of armament in the disputed island is not just security threat but tantamount to invading our country. We can seek the help of the US as contained in our defense treaty,” Erice said in a statement.
The lawmaker also urged the government to “condemn in strongest terms” China’s moves to militarize the contested areas.
“The Philippine government must condemn in strongest terms the militarization of the disputed islands. It’s an invasion and a display of lack of respect for a country whose leader have continuously shown a public display of affection to the Chinese government. Government inaction would mean subservience to China,” Erice added.
For his part, Alejano, a member of the House committee on national defense and security, noted that China’s deplorable aggression in the West Philippine Sea is an “obvious threat to national security.”
“The actions and continuous aggression of China in the West Philippine Sea are obviously threats to our national security. I call on the Duterte administration to wake up from its long doze, silence and inaction,” the lawmaker said.
“Let us not let China’s sweet talks of investments and loans lull us into a false sense of security. Their actions clearly belie their pronouncements. Pain lamang ito sa patibong,” Alejano added.
Alejano also explained how the missiles, with a range of 295 nautical miles (nm) and 160 nm, “can target vessels located as far as the waters of Balabac, Palawan.”
“According to reports, the missiles are located in Zamora Reef (Subi), Kagitingan Reef (Fiery Cross), and Panganiban Reef (Mischief) which are approximately just 13 nm, 103 nm, and 117 nm away from Pag-asa Island, respectively. Pag-asa is the largest Philippine-controlled island out of the nine features in Spratlys (that) we are claiming,” Alejano pointed out.
“The distance of Pag-asa Island from the closest missile located in Subi Reef is around the same distance as that of Quezon City to Taguig City. Ganyan kalapit ang mga kagamitang pandigma ng China sa mga kababayan natin na naninirahan ngayon sa Pag-asa Island,” he stressed.
Zarate, meanwhile, deemed China’s move as “provoking an era of arms race and volatility in the Asia-Pacific region,” and called it a “creeping invasion” of the Philippines.
“This is very alarming, as it is highly condemnable. It is in fact more than militarizing the WPS (West Philippine Sea). China is effectively also implementing a creeping invasion of the Philippines, unfortunately, without even a whimper of protest from the Philippine government,” he said.
“China is obviously exploiting the subservient stance of the Duterte administration; it’s now time to end this,” he pointed out. /kga
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.