By Ernie Reyes
MANILA — Senator Risa Hontiveros on Wednesday has renewed her call to investigate possible collaboration and collusion by entities within the Philippines in the construction of China’s artificial islands and military installations in the West Philippine Sea.
“Sino ang nang-traydor sa mga Pilipino? May nagbenta ba ng mga teritoryo natin? We need to find out. We need to create measures to prevent acts inimical to our national security, including identifying and penalizing Filipinos colluding or collaborating with foreign powers to militarize the WPS,” the senator said.
“Napapalibutan na tayo ng Tsina. Ang mga artificial islands na dati ay mukhang mga patag lang ay may malalaking imprastraktura na ngayon. We need to dismantle these structures that occupy the territories we claim, and while doing so, we must ensure that Filipinos, who may have been in cahoots with the Chinese government in building these structures, will pay for their treachery,” Hontiveros said.
The senator filed Senate Resolution 509 last year, after reports of continuous dredging and reclamation around territory claimed by the Philippines, including Panatag Shoal, as well as Panganiban, Kagitingan, Calderon, Burgos, Mabini, Hughes, and Zamora Reefs. Hontiveros had said it appears that the soil, sand, and other materials taken from the Philippines were used to construct China’s artificial islands.
“Nakakakilabot at nakakagalit ang bilis at yabang ng Tsina sa pag-aangkin ng ating teritoryo. Dati, sabi ng Tsina nandoon sila sa WPS because of ‘inclement weather,’ pero ngayon, lantaran nalang inangkin ang karagatan natin at nagtayo pa ng mga distrito. Walang takot nilang nilusob ang ating teritoryo na para bang may nagpahintulot na sa kanila. Ang mga isla na ito ay hindi rin basta-basta. Not only do these islands feature long-range sensor rays and port facilities, but these have also been used as barracks for military personnel,” Hontiveros said.
Recently, the National Task Force for the West Philippine Sea revealed that they monitored 115 Chinese maritime militia vessels at Hughes Reef, 45 vessels near Pag-asa Islands, and over 50 vessels around Panganiban, Kagitingan, and Zamora Reefs. In light of China’s recent relentless activities in the WPS, Hontiveros said she will work with the Senate Committee on National Defense to make PSR 509 a priority.
“I am positive that the more we could look into this issue, the more that we would be able to know how to ultimately oblige China to pay for her shameless adventurism. Kung may Pilipino ngang kasabwat sa lantarang pang-aabuso ng Tsina, hindi rin sila makakawala. Panahon na para tunay na unahin ang kapakanan ng ating inang bayan,” Hontiveros concluded. (AI/MTVN)