April 30, 2021
MR. ANTÓNIO GUTERRES
United NationsNew York, USA
Dear Secretary-General Guterres,
With the heightened military presence and operations of China and the United States (U.S.) in the South China Sea covering the Philippines’ territorial waters and surrounding areas, the Filipino people and fisherfolk are raising fear on the possibility of armed conflict that would put the Filipino people in danger of getting caught in the middle of the armed conflict between the two superpowers.
Thus, we are sending this urgent appeal to the United Nations to support the Filipino peope’s collective call for demilitarization in the South China Sea and Philippines’ territorial waters to avert this brewing armed confrontation.
MR. FERNANDO HICAP
MR. SALVADOR FRANCE
MR. PEDRO GONZALES
MS. ANNALIE DELOS SANTOS
Coordinator, PAMALAKAYA – SOUTHERN TAGALOG
Chairperson, PAMALAKAYA – PALAWAN
MR. RONNEL ARAMBULO
Coordinator, PAMALAKAYA – RIZAL
MR. JERWIN BAURE
Chairperson, AGHAM – UP DILIMAN
Advocates Of Science And Technology For The People /
Resident Fisheries Expert, PAMALAKAYA
Urgent Appeal to the United Nations Secretary-General to Pursue the Demilitarization of West Philippine Sea and South China Sea, and Investigation of the Damage of Chinese Imperialist Occupation to the Marine Resources and Livelihood of Filipino Fisherfolk
Over the past two months, the Philippines has been surrounded sideways by United States (U.S.) and Chinese warships. With the presence of these military vessels raising military tensions, the Filipino people warn of a high probability that the Philippines to be caught in the middle of the armed confrontation between the two superpowers.
There is a permanent presence of Chinese Coast Guard and ‘militias’ in the West Philippine Sea, threatening the livelihood of the Filipino fishers. As part of its territorial expansion activities, the imperialist China has already constructed in 2018 not less than seven military build-up facilities within the Kalayaan Island Group, a local government area of the Philippines, under the province of Palawan and occupying the exclusive economic zone. The imperialist China destroyed seven (7) reef sites namely: Calderon Reef (Cuarteron), Kagitingan Reef (Fiery Cross), Burgos Reefs (Gaven), Hughes Reef, Johnson Reef, Panganiban Reef (Mischief) and Zamora Reef (Subi). Its reclamation involved military installations, capable of radar, deploying bomber and fighter aircrafts, surface-to-air and anti-ship cruise missiles.
The latest Chinese aggression is its occupation early this year of Julian Felipe Reef (Whitsun), within the Kalayaan Island Group (KIG) of the Philippines, with more than 250 naval vessels; and the harassment of a team of Filipino journalists en route to Ayungin Shoal (Second Thomas, also within the KIG) by two Type-22 Houbei People’s Liberation Army Navy missile boat.
On the side of US, the US carrier strike group Theodore Roosevelt and the Makin Island Amphibious Ready Group. The balance of military power could be roughly depicted as below:
- Zamora Reef - sensor/communications facilities, 3,000-meter airstrip, hangar space for 20 combat aircraft, 4 bigger hangars for large aircraft, hardened structures with retractable roofs believed to be shelters for mobile missile launchers, four point defense facilities, underground storage facilities, presumed to be for fuel, water, or other base necessities - Kagitingan Reef - high frequency radar array, sensor/communications facilities, 3,000-meter runway, hangars to accommodate four combat aircrafts, four point defense facilities - Panganiban Reef - sensor/communications facilities, 3,000-meter runway, 2 hangar spaces for 8 and 16 combat aircraft, five hangars for larger aircraft, four point defense facilities, underground storage tunnels, - Calderon Reef - sensor/communications facilities, two point defense emplacements, a large radar array, - Burgos Reefs - sensor/communications facilities - Johnson Reef - sensor/communications facilities, point defense emplacement, - Around 240 maritime militia
- USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN-71) - USS Lake Erie (CG-70) - USS Antietam (CG-54) - USS Vincennes (CG-49) - USS Arkansas (CGN-41) - USS England (CG-22) - USS Russell (DDG-59) - USS Fletcher (DD-992) - USS Harry W. Hill (DD-986) - USS Cushing (DD-985) - USS Reuben James (FFG-57) - Fighter Squadron 31: F-14D - Fighter Squadron 11: F-14D - Strike Fighter Squadron 113: F/A-18C - Strike Fighter Squadron 25: F/A-18C - Attack Squadron 196: A-6E TRAM - Electronic Warfare Squadron 139: EA-6B - Airborne Early Warning Squadron 113: E-2C - Sea Control Squadron 35: S-3B - Helicopter Anti-Submarine Squadron 8: SH-3H - USS Makin Island (LHD 8) - USS Somerset (LPD 25) - USS San Diego (LPD 22)
With the U.S. and China’s military conflict growing apace since last year, the Philippines will soon find itself as a launching pad of the two superpowers’ war for hegemony. In this case, the Filipino people, most especially our fisherfolks who are dependent on our seas for their livelihood, will be adversely affected and could be caught in a crossfire.
Regular presence with drill patrols also poses environmental risks and marine pollution.
Marine pollution caused by warships through discharging of oil chemicals and dumping of untreated solid wastes into the sea
There is also an environmental risk of this regular patrolling of naval warships in the Philippine waters as they regularly discharge oil and dumping untreated solid wastes into the sea, jeopardizing the marine resources and the livelihood of Filipino fishers and other vessel waste to the marine waters, jeopardizing the marine resources that is a source of livelihood of Filipino fishers. At present, Filipino scientists estimated that the Chinese destruction of coral reefs have caused the damage valued at P1.92 trillion (USD 40 billion) per year.
We are calling on the honorable Secretary-General of the United Nations to heed our call to support and pursue the demilitarization of the Philippine seas to avert any possible armed confrontation that would put the country’s security and its people’s safety at stake.
Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas
(National Federation of Small Fisherfolk Organizations in the Philippines, Pamalakaya)
Copy of the petition letter April 30, 2021 Pamalakaya Ph Petition Letter to UN Secretary-General re Demilitarization of South China Sea