MANILA — Militant organizations affiliated with the Makabayan Alyansang Makabansa (MAKABANSA) held a protest rally in front of the Vietnam Embassy to oppose the country’s alleged “militarization” of disputed islands in the West Philippine Sea.

During the rally, the group strongly denounced and opposed Vietnam’s actions of constructing facilities and militarizing disputed islands in the West Philippine Sea, which fall within the Philippines’ Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ).

Vietnam has been rapidly building on these islands in the West Philippine Sea, where China has previously militarized some artificial structures and laid claim to a significant portion of the entire South China Sea.

Tensions have arisen among the Philippines, Brunei, China, Malaysia, Vietnam, and Taiwan over the South China Sea and its waterways, with China’s territorial claims being particularly expansive marked by what it calls as the “Nine Dash Line.”

According to recent reports from the Western Command of the Armed Forces of the Philippines, approximately 48 vessels suspected to be Chinese maritime militias were observed around Iroguois Reef, also known as Del Pilar Reef, on June 30, 2023.

In response to these developments, the Philippine Coast Guard and the Armed Forces of the Philippines are planning to increase maritime patrols in the West Philippine Sea to address the presence of Chinese maritime militia vessels in the region.

(Benjamin Cuaresma/ai/mnm)