Poe, Villanueva condemn China for dictating what to do on our sovereign in WPS

Poe, Villanueva condemn China for dictating what to do on our sovereign in WPS

By Ernie Reyes

MANILA – Senators Grace Poe and Joel Villanueva on Thursday condemned
China for dictating our country on what to do over our sovereign
rights in the West Philippine Sea.

In separate statements, Poe and Villanueva said that China has no
right, legal or moral, to demand the removal of BRP Sierra Madre in
Ayungin Shoal, which is part of our exclusive economic zone.

Poe said that the 2016 arbitral ruling declared that Ayungin Shoal
belongs to the Philippines and is well within our exclusive economic
zone and continental shelf.

“China has no right to dictate what we can do within our waters,” Poe said.

Poe said that China’s recent statement telling us to remove BRP
Sierra Madre from the shoal is another display of utter arrogance and
aggression that we must not take sitting down.

“Aside from diplomatic protests, the government should step up efforts
in rallying our neighbors to form a united front against China in the
South China Sea. Time and again, several nations have stood by us and
shared our goal of ensuring peace, stability, and harmony,” Poe said.

“Mutual respect must always be the cornerstone of our relationship
with any nation,” she added.

For his part, Villanueva said that trespassers have no right to issue
an eviction order.

“Ayungin Shoal is part of the continental shelf that is 104 nautical
miles from the archipelagic baseline of Palawan and thus within our
country’s 200-nautical mile EEZ under UNCLOS,” Villanueva said.

“Our ship has been there since 1999. To argue otherwise is to suffer
from historical amnesia and geographical ignorance,” he added.

“Sierra Madre, the ship, is a fixture as immovable as Sierra Madre,
the mountain range. Eventually, the sea will be BRP Sierra Madre’s
final resting place. But no way should it be the graveyard of our
sovereignty,” he ended. (ai/mtvn)

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