Manila, Philippines — “Although the action of our coast guard to drive away a Chinese navy ship in our territorial waters deserves appreciation, there was nothing much to it as it is their sworn duty to protect our territory against foreign intrusion. Moreover, their efforts to guard our waters would remain weak, tokenistic, and futile if their commander in chief remains subservient to Chinese aggressors,” according to the militant fishers’ group Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (PAMALAKAYA) in reaction to the expulsion of a Chinese naval ship by Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) near Marie Louise Bank off Palawan province yesterday.
“Enforcing the basic rules of engagement against any foreign vessels entering our exclusive economic zone is actually the mandate of our maritime law enforcers which they should’ve done from the very beginning to prevent Chinese forces from occupying our territorial waters. Still, it’s credit where credit is due for driving away the Chinese naval ship,” Fernando Hicap, PAMALAKAYA National Chairperson said in a statement.
The fishers’ group urged the PCG to “seriously guard the marine territory against Chinese vessels”. In particular, the maritime forces should strive for the expulsion of Chinese forces and dismantling of reclaimed military island in Zamora reef, which is only 14 nautical miles away from the Philippine-occupied Pag-asa Island.
“The news about PCG driving away a Chinese vessel appears like gimmick when the most serious incident of violation and threat to the national sovereignty and existing laws remain unaddressed,” Hicap, former Anakpawis Party-list representative added.
Lastly, the maritime authorities should denounce the Duterte government for its subservience to China that depreciates to tokenism and ineffective their scattered efforts to defend the Philippine waters.
“President Duterte remains the major stumbling block on the capacity and capability of our maritime forces to defend our waters courtesy of his submissive foreign policies that embolden China to further its aggression in our territorial waters and hostility against Filipino fishers,” ended Hicap. ###