Hontiveros urges Palace to denounce ‘China’s bullying’ in Pag-asa Island
MANILA, Philippines — Senator Risa Hontiveros on Wednesday urged Malacañang to denounce “China’s bullying” after a Filipino fisherman was allegedly harassed by a Chinese Coast Guard ship near the Philippines-occupied Pag-asa Island.
“Kaka-anunsyo pa lang ng bagong Coast Guard Law, napaka wala sa lugar agad nilang mang-harass ng mga Pilipino sa sarili nating teritoryo. Malacañang should denounce China’s bullying immediately,” Hontiveros said in a statement.
(The new Coast Guard Law has just been announced, and they’re already harassing Filipinos in our own territory. Malacañang should denounce China’s bullying immediately.)
A Filipino fisherman recently said that a Chinese Coast Guard ship tried to block his way to one of the sandbars near the Pag-asa Island in the West Philippine Sea.
“Pagkatapos magpasa ng Tsina ng Coast Guard Law, mga fisherfolks na natin mismo ang humihingi na tuligsain ito ng administrasyon. Tumindig tayo laban sa Tsina. Kampihan naman natin ang ating mga mangingisda,” Hontiveros said.
(After China passed the Coast Guard Law, our very own fisherfolks are demanding the administration to condemn it. Let us stand up against China. Let us support our fishermen.)
“This is the arrogance of a country that still considers itself the Middle Kingdom and an empire. This is an unacceptable encounter,” she added.
The senator earlier cautioned the Department of National Defense (DND) from a law recently adopted in China and urged the agency to immediately create a strategy in case the Chinese Coast Guard uses force in our contested waters.
The new Chinese law allows the Chinese Coast Guard to “take all necessary measures, including the use of weapons when national sovereignty, sovereign rights, and jurisdiction are being illegally infringed upon by foreign organizations or individuals at sea.”
“The next thing we know, Chinese coast guards might not only block, but also shoot at our own boats. Dapat may plano na tayo kasi, huwag naman sana, posibleng mangyari ito,” Hontiveros said.
(We must have a plan now because, even though we hope that it wouldn’t, it is possible for this to happen.)
Hontiveros also called on fellow Southeast Asian countries to “reach a consensus and to take multilateral action to stop China’s incessant adventurism.”
This, as she claimed that the “Chinese game plan” seeks to “isolate and divide” the countries around it “so it can deal with them individually through bilateral talks, maximizing its relative advantage in resources and power against any one of its neighbors.”
“China should stop its bullying tactics. [Association of Southeast Asian Nations] member-states should band together and show China that we will not be bullied into deference,” the opposition senator said.
“Sama-sama, hinding-hindi tayo mapapaluhod (Together, we will never get on our knees),” she added.
Reacting to the new Chinese coast guard law, Malacañang earlier said the use of force under international law was “generally prohibited” and China must follow its obligations under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, as a signatory.
“Under general international law, the use of force is generally prohibited except for two well-defined exceptions: by way of self-defense and there must be the sending of armed troops in the territory of China,” presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said in an earlier press briefing. Zac Sarao, INQUIRER.net trainee
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