By Ernie Reyes
MANILA — Senator Risa Hontiveros told Beijing to command its Chinese Coast Guard to leave Bajo de Masinloc, the Kalayaan Island Group, and all other areas of the West Philippine Sea now.
In a statement, Hontiveros said that the Philippine Coast Guard has the absolute right to conduct maritime patrols and training exercises in the entire West Philippine Sea.
“Lubos na nakakagalit na ang coast guard pa natin ang nahaharangan at hinahamon ng Tsina sa ating mga teritoryo,” Hontiveros said.
With this, Hontiveros supported the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) in protesting China Coast Guard’s dangerous maneuvers and radio challenges to our PCG, and for pushing back against the prolonged and illegal presence of Chinese vessels in our waters.
“But we must not stop at these diplomatic protests. Dapat maghanap na tayo ng paraan kung paano magbabayad ang Tsina hindi lang para sa mga nasira niyang likas-yaman, kundi pati narin sa lantarang paglabag niya sa batas na mariing sinusunod ng mga bansa sa buong mundo,” she said.
Hontiveros said that China’s attitude towards the Philippines and other South China Sea claimant countries is an infraction of sovereign agreements, to which she is a signatory.
“If China cannot follow international law, including the UNCLOS, the global community must continuously band together to pressure China to comply,” she said.
“Excessive Chinese claims should be challenged, lest they become the norm. We should also send more ships to the WPS to show China how worthless, illegitimate, and unlawful her claims are. This is not the time to kowtow to the autocratic and hypocritical regime in Beijing. If we don’t assert our rights under international law, we lose them,” Hontiveros added.
“Let’s not stop until China is put in her place. Bullies never win,” she ended. (AI/MTVN)