Senators condemn China’s water cannon attack in WPS: ‘Bullying must stop’
MANILA, Philippines — Senators condemned on Sunday the Chinese Coast Guard’s (CCG) harassment against the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) and military supply ship bound for Ayungin Shoal.
In separate statements, senators aired their frustration on CCG’s use of water cannon against PCG vessels delivering supplies to military troops stationed on BRP Sierra Madre in Ayungin Shoal.
Senator Risa Hontiveros, who filed Resolution No. 659 urging the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) to raise China’s incursions before the UN General Assembly, said the CCG has no right to block or attack the country’s supplies to deprive Filipinos in Ayungin Shoal of their needs.
“China’s repeated provocations are in complete violation of UNCLOS (the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea) and the 2016 Arbitral Award. I call on our regional neighbors and the broader international community to join the Philippines in condemning this dangerous behavior,” Hontiveros said.
“I also hope our country can start joint patrols with other claimant countries in the SCS (South China Sea), such as Vietnam, Malaysia, Indonesia, and Brunei. Kailangan nating magtulungan para mapahinto ang agresibong mga aksyon ng Tsina (We need to unite to stop China’s aggression),” she added.
In line with this, Hontiveros urged the DFA to start coordinating with international courts regarding China’s continued harassment, as she pointed out to the recently adopted Senate Resolution 718 — which comprises her resolution merged with Senate Resolution No. 707, filed by Senate President Juan Miguel Zubiri.
On the other hand, according to Senate President Juan Miguel Zubiri, the incident is a manifestation of its “might vs. right treatment of its peaceful neighbors.”
“By its actions, it shows diplomatic duplicity, of preaching about amity, but practicing hostile behavior. Gusto naming makipagkaibigan, pero bakit China ang hirap mong mahalin?” Zubiri said.
(We want to be friends with them, but why is it so hard to love China?)
“This incident reaffirms the merit of the resolution the Senate has unanimously passed. Because China contemptuously ignores protests, all the more that we have to rally the world to condemn acts which have no place in a civilized order,” he added.
Senators JV Ejercito and Joel Villanueva likewise pushed the DFA to implement the resolution for the country to have a strong stance in its territory against China to stop this “kind of bullying.”
On the other hand, Senator Ramon Revilla Jr. said CCG’s attack is “a direct affront to the country’s efforts, especially to assert and secure its sovereignty.”
“China’s bullying only promotes discord and instability, which does not do well for regional peace and harmony. We have long advocated for a coexistence built on respect and amity. And with this incident, we must put our foot down and draw the line where the safety and interest of our countrymen are endangered,” Revilla said.
“The Filipino people and the country’s leaders will remain steadfast in asserting our sovereign rights. China should reconsider their tactics and end these antics if they are sincere in promoting its relationship with the Philippines,” he added.
Meanwhile, Senate Minority Floor Leader Aquilino “Koko” Pimentel III said the PCG needs to outsmart CCG in conducting its resupply missions.
“They should come up with sensible plans behind closed doors. Use diplomacy and intelligent tactics. The MDT should not be invoked lightly. Use our Koko (brain), not the MDT (1951 Mutual Defense Treaty),” Pimentel said.
Conversely, Ejercito was irked by China’s attack and called it an insult to the Senate’s approval of Resolution 718.
“We cannot let this slip. This is too much already! Nakakapikon na ang Tsina! Sobra na ang pambabastos ng Tsina sa ating Philippine Navy, Philippine Coast Guard, at mga mangingisda. Teritoryo, seguridad, at kapayapaan na ang nakataya rito!” Ejercito said.
(China is collapsing! China’s abuse of our Philippine Navy, Philippine Coast Guard, and fishermen is too much. Territory, security, and peace are at stake here!)
“I urge the national government to heed the Senate’s recent resolution on China’s aggression and take decisive measures to safeguard our territorial integrity. These measures will require us to expedite the modernization of the Armed Forces of the Philippines and strengthen our defense cooperation program and pacts with our allies,” he added.