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Monday, May 27, 2024

Solons, countries rip China WPS acts

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The House of Representatives led by Speaker Ferdinand Martin G. Romualdez on Monday condemned China’s recent actions that led to the collision between Chinese vessels and Philippine boats, which were on a resupply mission to the BRP Sierra Madre in Ayungin Shoal.

Romualdez vowed that the government would exhaust all diplomatic initiatives and mobilize the support of the international community to prevent these unlawful acts by its giant neighbor to the north.

Meanwhile, more countries on Monday expressed serious concerns over the behavior of the China Coast Guard and called on both China and the Philippines to follow the 2016 arbitral ruling and a United Nations (UN) convention on maritime laws.

The ambassadors of France, the United Kingdom, Czech Republic, and New Zealand in the Philippines voiced their growing concerns over the latest incident.

“We, at the House of Representatives, vehemently condemn China’s recent actions that led to the collision of its coast guard vessel 5203 with the private resupply vessel of the Armed Forces of the Philippines,” Romualdez said in a statement.

“Such actions not only jeopardized the lives of those onboard but also threatened regional peace and stability,” he added.

“We implore China to adhere to international maritime laws and standards, act with restraint, and guarantee the safety of all vessels in the West Philippine Sea.”

Romualdez said such incidents cannot be overlooked.

Bayan Muna, meanwhile, said China’s recent aggression demands “immediate action.”

“China’s growing aggression in the West Philippine Sea (WPS) is condemnable and the Marcos administration should act immediately to address it. President Marcos should file another case against China either in the PCA or the International Tribunal on the Law of the Sea,” Bayan Muna chair Neri Colmenares said.

“Even if China does not recognize the PCA decision, its ramming of a Philippine ship is a violation of UNCLOS, of which it is a signatory,” Colmenares added.

“Notwithstanding China’s baseless 9-dash-line claim, it still has the duty under Article 225 of UNCLOS which provides that ‘… States shall not endanger the safety of navigation or otherwise create any hazard to a vessel, …or expose the marine environment to an unreasonable risk,” he added.

Senate President Juan Miguel Zubiri also denounced the latest Chinese action.

“I am one with peace-loving Filipinos in strongly condemning these latest abhorrent actions of the China Coast Guard and Chinese maritime militia that put in danger the lives of our brave countrymen who were on a routine resupply mission to our troops in Ayungin Shoal.

“I… call on the China Coast Guard to respect human lives and abide by the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea and other international laws governing safe maritime travel.

“Our freedom of navigation in our own exclusive economic zone within our own continental shelf should be recognized and upheld,” he said.

He said Congress would move to increase the budget of the Philippine Coast Guard and the Armed Forces of the Philippines to better equip them to safeguard the country’s exclusive economic zones from illegal foreign intrusions.

“As leader of the Senate, I will make sure that our troops will get sufficient funds under the 2024 national budget to bankroll the much-needed upgrade of their equipment,” he said.

More countries on Monday expressed serious concerns over the behavior of the China Coast Guard and called on both China and the Philippines to follow the 2016 arbitral ruling and a United Nations (UN) convention on maritime laws.

The ambassadors of France, the United Kingdom, Czech Republic, and New Zealand in the Philippines voiced their growing concerns over the latest incident.

In separate posts on X, the United States, Canada, Japan, Australia, the European Union, Germany, and The Netherlands called for compliance of the 2016 arbitral ruling rendered by the Permanent Court of Arbitration which invalidated the nine-dash line claims by China and upheld the Philippines’ exclusive economic zone in the West Philippine Sea.

“Seriously concerned by the collision incidents in the South China Sea today and the dangerous attempts to disrupt a (Philippine) resupply mission in its EEZ,” French Ambassador to Manila Marie Fontanel said.

“(France) calls for respect of the freedom of navigation protected by international law and UNCLOS,” she added, referring to the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), the landmark convention that was the basis of the Philippines’ arbitral win over China’s nine-dash line claim.

British Ambassador to the Philippines Laure Beaufils expressed her country’s opposition to rising

“(United Kingdom) is very concerned by reports of unsafe conduct towards Philippines vessels on their latest resupply mission to the Ayungin Shoal. (The UK) joins the (Philippines) in calling for adherence to UNCLOS and the 2016 arbitral award. We oppose actions which raise tensions in the South China Sea,” she said.

New Zealand Ambassador Peter Kell warned of the “heightening risk to safety and undermining regional stability” that the collision could signal.

“NZ is deeply concerned at Sunday’s actions towards the Philippines in its EEZ, with physical contact between vessels heightening risk to safety and undermining regional stability. NZ again calls on all parties to engage in peaceful resolution of disputes in accordance with UNCLOS,” he said.

Czech Republic Ambassador Karel Hejc also took to X to sound the alarm on the frequency of the incidents in the region between the Philippines and China.

Meanwhile, the Department of Foreign Affairs on Monday said there is a need to “restudy” when the Philippines can effectively invoke its Mutual Defense Treaty with the United States in the light of the dangerous maneuvers made by China Coast Guard vessels against Philippine vessels.

Foreign Affairs spokesperson Ma. Teresita Daza said the US’ commitment to defend the Philippines will come into effect only “when there is an armed attack” on the country’s public vessels.

Daza described China’s action as “aggressive,” “dangerous,” and a “provocation on the side of China,” but she said it was unclear if this could be the basis for invoking the MDT.

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