By Ernie Reyes
MANILA — Senator Risa Hontiveros blasted China anew for using its missile boat charging on a Filipino boat chartered by ABS-CBN crew while navigating our territory at the West Philippine Sea (WPS).
In a statement, Hontiveros said that this latest provocation only proves that China knows she can never win diplomatically or legally in our territorial disputes in the West Philippine Sea, hence, she is desperately resorting to the threat of using deadly force.
“I am outraged. Unti-unti nang nawawala ang katiting na respeto na natitira sa akin para sa gobyerno ng Tsina,” she said.
“Ang ABS-CBN crew at ang kasama nitong mangingisda ay pupunta sana sa Ayungin Shoal, ngunit biglang hinarang ng isang barko. At sinundan pa ng dalawang Type 22 Hubei missile boat, a ship class in the Chinese People’s Liberation Army Navy,” she added.
Last week, the same vessels were also spotted in Panganiban Reef. China is escalating to violence. We will never tolerate this barbarity in our seas,” Hontiveros said.
The lady senator said that ABS-CBN’s Chiara Zambrano checked their boat’s location, and they were only 90 nautical miles from Palawan. “That’s almost just as far as going to Cavite from Tarlac. Clearly, they were within our Exclusive Economic Zone, and yet, China’s war vessels brazenly charged in their direction. Iyan ba ang magpapark lang ng barko kasi masama ang panahon? “
“Pinalibutan na tayo sa sarili nating teritoryo. Tayo pa ang takot sa sarili nating kapuluan. China should pull her Navy and Coast Guard outside the Philippines’ EEZ to prevent any incident that might lead to further escalation in a disputed area that is already a powder keg in the region,” Hontiveros lamented.
Hontiveros said that as the widow of a Philippine Military Academy graduate, she also would like to echo the recent statement of the PMA Alumni Association and the PMA Retirees Association that strongly condemns China’s illegal intrusion in our EEZ and insists that China should comply with the UNCLOS, as both countries are party to this convention.
“Indeed, no productive negotiation would be possible if China does not adhere to international law and if she continues to use lies and deceit to impose her will upon the region,” she said.
She said that Malacañang should also unambiguously denounce China’s threats and intimidation at once. “The administration’s kowtowing to China has been an absolute reneging on our obligation to assert our sovereign rights and territorial claims in the WPS. Let’s look to Indonesia which has been standing up to China with regard to the WPS, and yet has still been able to secure satisfactory investments and has timely received COVID-19 vaccines from China. “
Meanwhile, here in the Philippines, China’s investments have not materialized and the delivery of COVID-19 vaccines has been marred by major delays,” she added.
“Under this administration, we don’t even have freedom of navigation in our own EEZ. Nakakahiya. It has also been infuriating to repeatedly hear statements from the highest office of our country that the Philippines and China will resolve issues because we are “friends.,” she said.
“Anong klaseng kaibigan ang binabantaan ka ng armas? Nilagay ng Tsina sa panganib ang ating sariling mamamayan, sa sarili nating teritoryo. Ang nangyari sa Pilipinong barko sa Ayungin Shoal ay isa lang sa napakaraming ebidensya kung paano direktang naapektuhan ang ating mga mangingisda sa presensya ng Tsina. Kinuhaan na ng hanapbuhay, binantaan pa ang buhay,” she further said.
“Kung maliitin pa rin ng Palasyo ang pangyayaring ito, ano pa ang silbi ng posisyon ninyo? Ang mga Pilipino ang dapat nating pinaglilingkuran, hindi ang dayuhang,” Hontiveros ended. (AI/MTVN)