By Ernie Reyes
MANILA – Senator Risa Hontiveros on Monday blasted the continued presence of Chinese fishing vessels in the Julian Felipe reef, which is part and parcel of the exclusive economic zone (EEZ) of the Philippines.
In a statement, Hontiveros said that Chinese vessel in the Reef shod leave immediately since they cannot fish in our EEZ without our consent.
“Ang titigas ng ulo. Misunderstanding nga ba o sadya na tayong niloloko,” she said.
She said the Philippines is not alone since the international community stands beside us in condemning China’s continued deceit and aggression.
“China better pack up and leave. The world is catching on to China’s gray zone smokescreen. How long will it keep using “civilian” vessels to pursue military activities in our EEZ? A strategy based on lies and deception does not always make one sublime; sometimes, it also exposes one as lying,” Hontiveros said.
“May pandemya pa tayong nilalabanan, tapos ang Tsina nanggugulo pa,” she added.
The lady senator said that the Chinese Communist Party wants to be Asia’s leader but, instead, it has become Asia’s biggest bully. “Instead of uniting the region, it has united the region against it. How long can such a regime hold any sort of mandate to lead the region? “
“As I’ve said in earlier statements, the Philippine government should also already study effective ways of making China pay for her incursion. Beijing has damaged parts of our seas beyond repair and it’s only right that it pays for this irreversible destruction,” Hontiveros said.
“We need to act now. We need to expel these “fishing vessels” from our EEZ and dismantle all illegal structures on the reefs and features we claim. Every delay on our end is an opportunity for China to seize what is justly and rightfully ours,” she ended. (AI/MTVN)