Ka Leody De Guzman, presidential candidate of Partido Lakas ng Masa (PLM), condemned the recent Chinese Coast Guard’s attacks on Philippine vessels in Ayungin Shoal, which is within the Philippines’ Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ).
Filipino resupply boats were blocked and water-cannoned by Chinese ships en route to Ayungin or Second Thomas Shoal last November 16.
“China’s encroachment on Philippine Territory is the logical conclusion of Duterte’s pandering to China and his betrayal of the country. China is now more confident in ignoring the UNCLOS and disrespect the territory and sovereignty of the Philippines,” Ka Leody said in a statement Monday.
The United States Government had released a statement hitting Chinese “escalation” and reaffirming their commitment to military action under the US-Philippines Mutual Defense Treaty.
Ka Leody asserted that although our country must remain firm in defending our territory from bullies such as China, we must also be wary of relying on the military support and intervention of other “imperialist” powers such as the United States who he claims have their own interests.
“Although we need to be vigilant against China’s threats on our territory, relying on US military intervention is not the solution. We will be caught between a conflict between two powerful countries who have their own agendas on the Philippines’ economy and territory,” said the veteran labor leader.
Ka Leody explained that China’s expansionism in the West Philippine Sea, which is “clearly unjustifiable” for him, should be understood in the context of their effort to extend a defensive perimeter to ward off a potential US attack from the US 7th Fleet, which has historically controlled the West Philippine Sea since World War 2.
“What is needed is the demilitarization of the West Philippine Sea from China and the US. Their armed presence in the region is the biggest threat to the sovereignty and territory not just of the Philippines but of all Southeast Asian countries,” stated Ka Leody.
Ka Leody carries the platform of Laban ng Masa, which includes an independent foreign policy that rejects the expansionist and sphere-of-influence claims of China and the US in the West Philippine Sea.
The party also promotes regional cooperation and a commons-based development and utilization of natural resources in disputed areas, shutting down all US de facto military bases in the country, and the ending of the Mutual Defense Treaty, Visiting Forces Agreement, and Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement with the US.