Archbishop Villegas sees China as threat to PH sovereignty

Archbishop Villegas sees China as threat to PH sovereignty

By: - Reporter / @zacariansINQ
/ 12:39 PM June 18, 2024

Catholic Bishops Conference of Philippines president and Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop Socrates Villegas. cbcpforlife.com photo

Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop Socrates Villegas. (cbcpforlife.com photo)

MANILA, Philippines — Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop Socrates Villegas has recognized China as a “threat” to Philippine sovereignty, noting its “insidious attempts” to “trample our sacred shores.”

 “The threat is no longer imagined. It is no longer mere conjecture,” said Villegas in a recent pastoral letter for the Archdiocese of Lingayen Dagupan.

ADVERTISEMENT

“There is evidence of insidious attempts by a foreign power that governs by an ideology that recognizes no God and keeps all religion and the practice of faith under the heavy heel of its totalitarian boot to ‘trample our sacred shores,’” he added.

FEATURED STORIES

Villegas cited China’s “provocative actions” against Philippine Coast Guard vessels, specifically at the Escoda Shoal.

He also raised the possibility of the government being infiltrated by Chinese assets, citing the investigations conducted both by the House of Representatives and the Senate.

According to Villegas, there is a “moral issue” involved in China’s actions, concerning the interests of Filipinos in securing their future “through the resources that the Creator has made available to them.”

“It is certainly a moral issue that many fisherfolk have been deprived of the abundance that once allowed them at least a decent existence, and that has now forced them to rummage through the leftovers of Chinese poachers and encroachers,” he said.

He also pointed out the “moral issue” of the need to uphold the country’s “right to believe and to practice their faith,” as well as the right to “be shielded from the onslaught of agents of an atheistic ideology.” 

 “There is the moral issue of jealously guarding that independence by which we have laid down for ourselves a system of law that recognizes fundamental rights and will not sacrifice them at the altar of any political or ideological party,” he said.

ADVERTISEMENT

He also quoted Pope Francis’ Encyclical, Laudato Si’, which stressed the faithful’s responsibility to their “common home” and defend it against destructive forces, such as greed and arrogance.

Call to action

Villegas invited the public to take part in a Rosary Campaign from June 27 to the Solemnity of the Assumption on August 15.

He also called on Catholics to fast whenever they can, as well as to practice other acts of penance and supererogation within the same period.

Villegas urged lawmakers to stay resolute in their investigations, particularly, on the topic of Chinese infiltrators.

He also told prosecutors and judges to be loyal to their oaths of office as administrators of justice to see to the prosecution and punishment of all “who make a mockery of the country’s legal and administrative processes.”

Villegas expressed hope that uniformed personnel who patrol and defend the contested waters “may receive all the support that the government can give.”

Both the Philippines and China have been been embroiled in a territorial dispute, after the latter claimed the majority of the South China Sea, including the West Philippine Sea, through its so-called ten-dash line.

China’s claims, however, have been effectively invalidated by a July 2016 international tribunal ruling that stemmed from a case filed by Manila in 2013. 

Your subscription could not be saved. Please try again.
Your subscription has been successful.

Subscribe to our daily newsletter

By providing an email address. I agree to the Terms of Use and acknowledge that I have read the Privacy Policy.

Despite this, China has continued encroaching Philippine waters, continuing its aggression and militarization even in areas of the Philippines’ territory in the West Philippine Sea.

For comprehensive coverage, in-depth analysis, and the latest updates on the West Philippine Sea issue, visit our special site here. Stay informed with articles, videos, and expert opinions.

TAGS: China, West Philippine Sea

© Copyright 1997-2024 INQUIRER.net | All Rights Reserved

We use cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. By continuing, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. To find out more, please click this link.