Duterte must be held criminally liable for the transformation of Kagitingan Reef
into military airbase – group
Manila, Philippines – The militant fisherfolk group Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (PAMALAKAYA-Pilipinas) on Friday chided at President Rodrigo Duterte and the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) for letting China convert the Kagitingan Reef (internationally known as Fiery Cross Reef) into a fortified Chinese military airstrip.
Kagitingan Reef is part of the disputed Kalayaan Group of Islands in the Spratly Region of the South China Sea. It is part of the country’s 220-naughtical mile exclusive economic zone (EEZ). On 2004, China has begun to construct artificial island in the reef.
According to Hong Kong-based news site, the reclaimed island now features a 3, 125-meter runway for 6K strategic bombers to land.
In a statement, PAMALAKAYA lambasts President Duterte and his armed forces for failing to prevent China from reclaiming and converting our resource-rich marine territory into its military fortress.
“Duterte has to blame for this outright foreign take-over of our marine territory. His soft approach towards to beg for foreign aid has led to total sell-out of our national sovereignty. Our winning in the case filed before the international tribunal has been disregarded not only by China but by the Philippine government itself,”
“While the military forces which are supposed to do the hardcore assertion and punitive actions seem to be sleeping in oblivion while the Chinese forces are rampantly grabbing our waters,” Fernando Hicap, PAMALAKAYA Chairperson said in a statement.
The fisherfolk group said Chinese aggressive escapade in the South China Sea does not only affect the livelihood of the Filipino fishermen who will soon be deprived of their fishing rights, but also a threat to the country’s marine ecology.
“China is destroying the country’s marine ecology by carrying out incessant reclamation and dredging activities in our shoals and reefs,”
“We call on the Filipino people to unite and actively pressure China to drop its irrational claim in our waters and held the Duterte administration accountable for its complete surrender of our territory to China,” ended Hicap. ###