‘China’s aggression is what is truly barbaric’ – House reps
MANILA, Philippines — Lawmakers dismissed the claims of a retired Chinese Air Force colonel that the Philippines was “barbaric” in treating Chinese fisherfolk in its waters and that China’s aggression in the West Philippine Sea is what is “truly barbaric.”
Cagayan de Oro City Rep. Rufus Rodriguez on Saturday pressed the government to file a case against China for damages for its illegal acts of aggression and encroachment.
In a message to the Inquirer, Rodriguez said the remarks of Zhou Bo, a senior fellow of the Center for International Security and Strategy of Tsinghua University, were “hogwash.”
Zhou cited the deaths of a Chinese fisherman in 2000 and another from Taiwan in 2013 during the Philippine Coast Guard’s (PCG) maritime patrols of the country’s waters.
“[But] his statement is hogwash. We have not ill-treated any Chinese fisherman,” Rodriguez said.
He added: “On the other hand, our Filipino fishermen are continuously harassed and threatened in our West Philippine Sea! China has also continued its unlawful acts of encroachment and aggression in the West Philippine Sea!”
For ACT Teachers Rep. France Castro, China’s aggression in the West Philippine Sea is “what is truly barbaric.”
“I think that the issues that the retired Chinese colonel raised have already been addressed lawfully. But what is clear now is the aggressive actions that China is doing in the West Philippine Sea,” said Castro, the House deputy minority leader.
In a message to the Inquirer, she added: “Its continuous attacks against Philippine vessels and its occupation and militarization of reefs in our exclusive economic zone without any lawful basis is what is truly barbaric.”
The Makabayan lawmaker said Beijing should stop its “delusion” of the nine or ten-dash line of its claims in the South China Sea for lack of any legal, historical or moral basis.
“It is just using its size and brute force to impose its planned hegemony in Southeast Asia. It is a country supposedly socialist but only in name because it behaves like an imperialist nation trying to colonize other territories,” Castro added.
In a related development, the PCG rescued two Filipino fishermen distressed in the West Philippine Sea on Friday.
According to a report from the PCG, the two men were part of a group of fishermen on the fishing boat Lantis Andrei, which sailed off around 10 a.m. on Oct. 25 in the waters near Bulig (First Thomas) Shoal, around 176 kilometers away from the town of Rizal in mainland Palawan.
Bulig is located 30 km south of Ayungin (Second Thomas) Shoal, where Chinese vessels collided on Oct. 22 with a boat conducting a resupply mission to BRP Sierra Madre and a PCG ship escorting the resupply boat in the latest series of Chinese escalating aggression in the West Philippine Sea.