DEFYING PH SOVEREIGNTY | Alejano blames admin’s “Pro-China” policy for increased Chinese vessels in WPS

2 months ago

JANUARY 11, 2018 — Magdalo Party-list Representative Gary Alejano believes the “pro-China” policy of the Duterte administration has influenced the number of Chinese vessels in the West Philippine Sea.

This is after new satellite images of the disputed Spratly islands showed a significant number of ships, including small fishing vessels, belonging to the Chinese.

Chinese fishing vessels at Subi Reef on August 12, 2018. Courtesy: DigitalGlobe, Inc. and Vulcan Technologies LLC
Chinese fishing vessels at Subi Reef on August 12, 2018. Courtesy: DigitalGlobe, Inc. and Vulcan Technologies LLC

Alejano blames the government’s seemingly relaxed stand on the maritime dispute to have caused more damage.

“We have seen how China has repeatedly defied our sovereignty and yet our government remains muted and lackadaisical in its defense of our rights over the West Philippine Sea. This has emboldened China to continue its illegal actions in the area which include poaching and robbing our maritime resources,” Alejano said.

“Mesa ng pamilyang Pilipino ang nawawalan ng pagkain dahil sa pagiging bulag, pipi at bingi ng gobyerno sa pagnanakaw at pang-aabuso ng China,” he added.

Cases of Filipino fishermen harassed and reprimanded by patrolling Chinese coast guards in disputed maritime locations have made headlines in recent months, including an incident in June 2018 where Pinoy fishermen in the Scarborough (Panatag) Shoal in exchange for “cup noodles”.

READ ALSO: HARASSMENT | Fishermen in Scarborough Shoal say China controls the area

Malacañang downplayed the incident saying it was a “barter trade” between the two parties.

READ ALSO: ‘IT WAS A BARTER’ | Duterte downplays Chinese harassment of fishermen in Panatag

A report by Washington-based think tank Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative (AMTI) showed a “massive presence” of Chinese fishing vessels and a “worrying story” about the scale of unseen Chinese fishing activity in the disputed areas of the West Philippine Sea.

“Two passes over Subi [Reef] in August revealed 117 [Synthetic Aperture Radar] returns within the reef’s lagoon and another 61 in waters nearby, including Philippine-occupied Thitu Island just over 12 nautical miles away,” the report wrote.

READ ALSO: ‘WORRYING STORY’ | Chinese vessels have massive presence in Spratlys -US think tank