Sen. Manny Pacquiao
I stand with Secretary Delfin Lorenzana in his appeal to China to pull out its militia fishing boats that have encroached in areas surrounding the Julian Felipe reef which is within the Philippine Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) and Continental Shelf.
I have stood in solidarity with the Chinese and our Asian brothers on issues that impact all Asians. We all must stand together in finding a just, peaceful and principled solution on matters that concern the whole of Asia, especially this matter on territorial claims which affects practically all nations in our continent. China can and will elevate itself as Asia’s unifying force if it starts to heed existing international laws including the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS). It will show a neighborly gesture of mutual understanding and true friendship.
As a friend and neighbor, I appeal to the Chinese leadership to stop this creeping occupation and use your authority to disperse these Chinese fishermen around our Julian Felipe reef. This would show goodwill on your part and an affirmation of your position that this action has not been sanctioned by your government.
Instead of expanding and occupying disputed territories, China should sustain building its goodwill and friendship towards its neighboring nations so that our whole region can look up to it as one of the world’s respectable global powers. (ai/mtvn)