DAVAO CITY,Philippines –In the latest controversy involving the Chinese Coast Guard divesting poor Filipino fishermen of their catch at the West Philippine Sea, particularly in the area of Bajo de Masinloc, a member of Makabayan bloc in the House of Representatives is calling on Malacanang to stand up against the invasion of China.
“Send our Coast Guards now to escort our fishermen in the West Philippine Sea (WPS).”
This was the urgent call and challenge made by Bayan Muna Rep. Carlos Isagani Zarate addressed to the administration of President Rodrigo Duterte.
Zarate criticized the Chinese Coast Guard for harassing and taking the catch of Filipino fishermen.
He also scored on the Duterte administration for its “lackadaisical actions in defending our Filipino fishermen and national sovereignty.”
Not only in the areas of Bajo de Masinloc, Zarate said that the Coast Guard must also accompany the hapless Filipino fishermen to the areas where the country has valid claims in the WPS.
“We have to show China that we are serious in defending our people as well as our territory. Our officials should always assert our independence, instead of them acting as apologists for China, who apparently now treat the Philippines as her vassal state,” he pointed out.
The Makabayan solon said China was apparently treating the Duterte administration as a pushover by doing what it wants in Bajo de Masinloc and the rest of the areas in WPS with nary a whimper from Malacanang.
“We are not saying that we declare war on China.What we need is for Malacanang to stand up for our fisherfolks and our territory. We have already suggested in the past the filing of a diplomatic protest and increasing patrols of our seas, among others. One thing is clear though, the government must do something now to stop this invasion of China,” he added.
Zarate also expressed alarm over the plan of the United States Pentagon to intensify and expand its naval patrols in the WPS in a bid to challenge China’s military build-up in the area.
The situation in the WPS, he added, is already getting serious and that US and China should stop their sabre rattling so as to lessen the tension in the area.
“The Philippines,along with other claimants in the area are in a situation akin to having two bullies in their backyard raring for a fight and thrash each other without regard for the backyard or the houses nearby,” he said.
Zarate also urged the neighboring countries like Vietnam, Brunei, Taiwan, and Malaysia together to unite with the Philippines and stand up against US and China which he described as bullies.
He called on the international community “to step in and pressure the US and China to demilitarize and de-escalate the tension in the region.”(davaotoday.com)