Manila, Philippines – “We are not indebted to China, it’s them who owe us trillions due to massive destruction of corals and marine resources in the West Philippine Sea. President Duterte takes his puppetry to a whole new level by using our sovereign territory as a bargaining chip to acquire Chinese vaccines and economic loans and investments,” according to the militant fishers’ group Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (PAMALAKAYA), reacting to President Rodrigo Duterte over his statement last night that the Philippines owes China a “big debt” including the donated vaccines, therefore he can not impose sovereign rights to the Asian superpower.
“Mr. Duterte is being censored with China’s vaccine diplomacy and false promises of economic investments at the expense of our fishing rights and national sovereignty. His stark kowtowing to China is a betrayal to the national interest and the constitution that he has sworn to uphold,” Fernando Hicap, PAMALAKAYA National Chairperson said in a statement.
The fishers’ group said that through “strong political will and renunciation of Beijing’s aggression”, the government could demand China to pay compensation over its reclamation and expansionism activities that cause marine degradation in the Philippine waters. PAMALAKAYA cited the estimate of scientists’ group AGHAM that the country loses about P1.3 trillion annually due to China’s reclamation of the total 62-square mile of the West Philippine Sea.
“We can actually demand China accountability for its relentless occupation and plunder of West Philippine Sea. China’s monetary liabilities to the Philippines are indeed far greater than the loans and assistance that it would extend to the country,” Hicap ended. ###