BAYAN MUNA: GOV’T SHOULD PROTEST INCREASED CHINESE PRESENCE NEAR PAG-ASA ISLAND
Bayan Muna chairman and Makabayan senatorial candidate Neri Colmenares and Bayan Muna Rep. Carlos Isagani Zarate today said that the government should protest the increased number of Chinese vessels near Pag-asa Island that may lead to heightened Chinese aggression.
The military has said that over 600 Chinese vessels have been circling Pag-asa Island (Thitu Island) in the West Philippine Sea since January this year.
“There seems to be a coordinated effort by Chinese vessels to narrow and tigthen the areas that Filipino fishermen and other Philippine vessels can enter even in our own territory. Fishermen have reported continued Chinese presence in Bajo de Masinloc (Scarborough shoal) and our fishermen were shooed away by the foreigners while at the same time China is also boxing us out of Pag-asa islands and nearby areas,” said the Makabayan senatorial bet.
“The government should protest these types of actions and get the support of the international community against these aggressive moves in the West Philippine Sea. We fear that China might be gearing up to build more artificial islands or even invade our Pag-asa islands,” said Colmenares.
“We do not want to sound alarmist but the Duterte administration should prepare for this and not let China to trample our sovereignty again,” he added.
Rep. Zarate meanwhile said that ‘nobody wants war but at the very least the Duterte administration should stand up for the Philippines.”
“For the longest time we have been saying that the government should deploy more coast guard vessels in the area and encourage our fishermen to actively report the presence of Chinese vessels in Panatag shoal and other parts that are contested. We should also push for joint patrols with other affected countries like Vietnam, Malaysia & Brunei because this is a bigger deterrent to China’s plan,” said the progressive solon.
The Davao-based solon added that the Philippines should also notify the international community to help us condemn and counter the latest Chinese action.###