On Monday, members of the Philippine Senate criticized the “harmful actions” of the China Coast Guard, which reportedly resulted in collisions with Philippine vessels that were on a resupply mission at Second Thomas Shoal in the South China Sea.
Senator Mary-Grace Poe-Llamanzares stated that China’s recent aggressive actions are a legitimate cause for concern, not only for the Philippines and China but also for the overall tension in the region.
“As we assert our rights in our waters, it is important to strengthen our relationships with other nations that share similar beliefs in order to prevent any hostile actions.”
Senator JV Ejercito believes that the government must prioritize the modernization of the Armed Forces and other defense agencies in order to enhance the nation’s ability to protect its maritime interests.
We will not tolerate any incidents that put the safety of our people at risk, especially those who serve in our Armed Forces and the Philippine Coast Guard.
On Sunday, Senate President Juan Miguel F. Zubiri said China’s Coast Guard should abide by international law and respect the Philippines’ freedom of navigation under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea.
“I stand in solidarity with peaceful Filipinos in denouncing the recent deplorable actions of the China Coast Guard and Chinese maritime militia, which endangered the lives of our courageous countrymen on a routine resupply mission to our troops at Ayungin Shoal,” he stated in a released statement.
Senator Ana Theresia N. Hontiveros-Baraquel stated that China does not have the authority to intimidate and endanger the safety of Philippine Coast Guard personnel.
She stated that the 2016 ruling by the Arbitral Tribunal has firmly rejected China’s assertions in the West Philippine Sea, rendering this event a blatant breach of global regulations. This pertains to regions within the South China Sea that fall under the Philippines’ exclusive economic zone.
The statement asserted that the Philippine Coast Guard is justified in being present in the South China Sea and emphasized that China does not have the authority to expel Philippine troops or cause harm to Philippine vessels operating in their own territory.
“According to Ms. Hontiveros-Baraquel, Chinese ships have continuously pursued, obstructed, and bothered our Philippine Coast Guard every day, around the clock, whenever we attempt to resupply the BRP Sierra Madre. They must be held accountable for their actions.”
John Victor D. Ordoñez urged the international community to stand with the Philippines in condemning China’s recent acts of violence against the Filipino people. He emphasized the importance of upholding the rule of law in order to achieve lasting peace and stability not just in the region, but also globally.