A former national security adviser and lawmakers on Sunday warned that China’s deployment of long-range H-6K bombers with nuclear strike capability on a disputed island in the South China Sea was a threat to the Philippines and urged the administration to file a diplomatic protest.
“This is a clear and present danger to the Philippines and our friends in the area,” said former national security adviser Roilo Golez, in an interview with the ANC news channel.
He said the move should prompt President Rodrigo Duterte to convene the National Security Council and for Manila to file a diplomatic protest.
Golez, the national security adviser during the Arroyo administration, said the landing of the bombers on the disputed Woody Island was too big an escalation in the South China Sea for the Philippines to ignore and predicted that China would land more bombers on the Spratly islands next.
“I strongly recommend for the Philippines finally to lodge a very strong diplomatic protest because this development is very serious,” Golez told ANC in a mix of English and Filipino.
Magdalo Rep. Gary Alejano condemned the Chinese move.
“It is crystal clear that China is strengthening its militarization of the South China Sea, having deployed an H-6K bomber aircraft after setting up a missiles system just last month,” he said. “I condemn the recent actions of China as this further erodes peace and stability in the region.”
China earlier had put up military structures on the disputed islands, and on May 18, its defense ministry brought in the long-range military aircraft and a nuclear bomber in Woody Island, part of the Paracel Islands.
“Until when [will] the Duterte administration continue to remain silent on the issue? Is this the cost of our loans [from] China?” Alejano asked.
“With the silence and subservience of the Philippine government to China, we are placing in grave danger not only our country, but also our neighboring nations,” he said.
Vietnam had asked Beijing to remove military equipment from South China Sea.
“It is a shame and utter disappointment that we have a President who only thinks of protecting his reins to power, instead of protecting his people,” Alejano said.
Senators also urged action on the Chinese moves.
“I condemn the continuous violation of the arbitration award, of the international rules,” said Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon said in an interview over radio dzBB on Sunday.
“We must condemn this creeping invasion of our territory and sovereignty,” he said as he expressed alarm over the deployment of Chinese bombers.
At the rate things are going, he added, China might soon interfere in Philippine elections.
Senator JV Ejercito, an ally of President Duterte, said that while he supports the policy of being friendly to China, he objected to what it has been doing to the Philippines.
“They are so kind to our President, but they continue to invade our territory. We have to protect our territory and fight for our sovereignty. Perhaps through a protest,” said Ejercito.
Opposition Senator Risa Hontiveros said a review of the country’s relationship with China is in order.
“We can’t call a country that robs us of our islands and threatens us with nuclear war a friend,” she said.
“This is unacceptable. This is a serious threat to the lives of our citizens, an assault on our Constitution and a direct violation of internationally-recognized treaties to which we are a signatory,” Hontiveros said.