DAVAO CITY, Philippines — Anakpawis Partylist Rep. Ariel Casilao blamed the Duterte government for its negligence in asserting the country’s constitutional rights over the territories in the West Philippine Sea.
Casilao said the country’s defeat of its authority in WPS territories was also fueled by the President’s favoring of Chinese interest.
The Makabayan solon averred that the executive branch of the government should unwaveringly uphold the provisions of Article I of the 1987 Constitution on National Territory and Art. II, Sec. 2 on Sovereignty, as well as Republic Act No. 9522 that defines the archipelagic baseline of the Philippines.
He hit the government’s acceptance of the recent statement made by the Chinese foreign ministry that they will allow Filipino fishermen at the Panatag Shoal “out of goodwill.”
“Hearing that Filipinos could only go to our territory because of China’s goodwill is a patent violation of our sovereignty and right to self-determination, and yet we are seeing the government’s non-opposition or assertion of our sovereign rights, this is a symptom of a puppet state,” Casilao said.
He also insisted that the people should press the Duterte government to fulfil its mandate of protecting the national territory and reveal the status of its relationship to China, particularly on why it is taking a scaredy-cat stance.
“Aside from outwardly forsaking the assertion of the laws of the land, the government attempted to downplay the harassment suffered by Filipino fishermen as mere ‘barter’, claiming the victims’ fish catch seized by the Chinese coast guard was traded off with ‘noodles’. Moreover, even the government reported Chinese destruction of corals in Panatag Shoal, but is yet to act emphatically on the issue,” Casilao said.
Casilao noted that the deployment of more Chinese coast guard at Panatag Shoal is of utmost insult to the Philippines, as it implies that they have already control over the country’s territory, as confirmed by Filipino fishermen during a press briefing in Malacańang.
He stressed that the China Coast Guard, a branch of People’s Armed Police, is mandated for law enforcement, maritime policing and ship inspections, fisheries protection, harbor and coastal security and research and survey of the Chinese government.
“As we are witnessing the Duterte government’s de-facto surrender to China, it would be the duty of every citizen to express opposition and take the task of upholding our national sovereignty,” Casilao said.
He declared that Anakpawis joins the fisherfolk group Pamalakaya-Pilipinas in a protest action at Manila Bay to protest not only the Duterte government’s laid-back approach but also China’s continuing militarization of the WPS.
“The people of the world are supporting our legitimate claim in the West Philippine Sea, the Permanent Court of Arbitration dismissed China’s nine-dash line demarcation, we Filipinos have the moral high ground against China, but the Duterte government is on the traitors’ side of the fence,” Casilao said.
He added that the Duterte government is now treading on thin ice as it is systematically colluding with a foreign power in violating the Philippine constitution, abandoned the mandate of protecting Filipinos from foreign aggression and settling itself with China, in exchange for compromises, undisclosed to the public.
“National sovereignty has no price tag, our ancestors shed blood for our freedom, we should never tolerate that a mere “strongman” president to sell the Filipino soul out to a foreign power, we should unite to demand, ‘Hands off Philippines, China out of Philippine seas!” the Makabayan solon concluded. (davaotoday.com)