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PH calls out China on illegal structures and reclamation in West PH Sea | The wRap

The wRap highlights: West PH Sea, Leni Robredo, Leila de Lima, Michelle Dee | The wRap.....»»

Category: newsSource: rappler rapplerNov 16th, 2023

China blasts proposed permanent Filipino structures in Ayungin, calls it illegal

Beijing's Foreign Ministry vehemently opposed plans by Manila's government to construct a permanent structure within the West Philippine Sea to shelter Filipino fisherfolk, calling the move as "inconsistent with international law.".....»»

Category: newsSource:  philstarRelated NewsDec 30th, 2023

DND chief: China charge ‘hypocritical’

China accusing the Philippines of being an environmental menace for allowing the rusting BRP Sierra Madre landing ship to remain moored at Ayungin Shoal is “hypocritical,” Defense Secretary Gilberto Teodoro Jr. said. “The statement of China that the grounded Sierra Madre is causing irrevocable harm is, to put it as politely as possible, hypocritical,” Teodoro, reacting to Mao’s statement, told reporters on Saturday. Teodoro was reacting to Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesperson Mao Ning’s statement that the rusting BRP Sierra Madre ship was a pollutant and source of waste in the West Philippine Sea. The BRP Sierra Madre is a landing vessel deliberately grounded on Ayungin Shoal in 1995 to serve as an outpost manned by a platoon of Marines. Mao called the Philippines to tow the Sierra Madre away from the shoal. He urged to “stop polluting” the waters around it “if it really cares about the environment.” Philippine officials were not amused, however. The Office of the Solicitor General said it is considering filing a lawsuit against China before an international court for destroying corals in at least two key features in the WPS, namely, Rozul or Iroquois Reef and Escoda or Sabina Shoal.   Pot calls kettle black “Talk about the pot calling the kettle black. China continues to damage the WPS with its illegal reclamation activities after it was found to be a violator of international law in the 2016 Arbitral Award when such activities damaged the marine environment,” Teodoro said. He described China’s remarks as mere “propaganda” to divert international attention from its illegal activities in the WPS. “Disingenuous propaganda lines such as this only serve to expose China’s insincerity and will only heighten the mistrust of the Filipino people and the rest of the world toward the Chinese government,” Teodoro said. China has repeatedly denied the Philippines’ sovereign right over the WPS based on the 2016 arbitral ruling of the Permanent Court of Arbitration at The Hague.   Coral destruction, a crime The Chinese foreign ministry also recently criticized the Philippines for creating “political drama” when it alleged massive coral harvesting at Rozul Reef and Escoda Shoal. “The destruction of corals goes far beyond drama. It is a violent act and a serious crime against humanity,” said Commodore Jay Tarriela, PCG spokesperson for the West Philippine Sea, in a post on X (formerly Twitter). “Stop making (allegations) that the BRP Sierra Madre is polluting the waters, but blame it (on) your numerous Chinese maritime militia vessels swarming the Philippines’ EEZ,” Tarriela said. Tarriela noted that the PCG conducted extensive underwater surveys of the seabed at both Rozul Reef and Escoda Shoal. “The results of these surveys showed that the marine ecosystem in the subject features appeared to be lifeless, with minimal to no signs of life. Moreover, the surveys conducted at Escoda Shoal revealed visible discoloration of its seabed, strongly indicating that deliberate activities may have been undertaken to modify the natural topography of the underwater terrain,” he said. On Thursday, Justice Secretary Jesus Crispin Remulla said the government would file environmental cases against China for its destructive activities in the WPS before the Permanent Court of Arbitration as it has a lot of evidence to pursue a case. Remulla said the case filing was not connected to the territorial dispute, maintaining that the “destruction of the environment is a sin against humanity.” On the other hand, Solicitor General Menardo Guevarra confirmed the plan to file charges against China before the arbitral court.   @tribunephl_raf   The post DND chief: China charge ‘hypocritical’ appeared first on Daily Tribune......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsSep 23rd, 2023

Philippines to China: Be accountable, remove illegal structures

The Department of Foreign Affairs urged Beijing to dismantle its infrastructures, halt all reclamations, and take full accountability for the damages caused in the West Philippine Sea......»»

Category: newsSource:  philstarRelated NewsNov 16th, 2023

More senators condemn China’s ‘bullying’ in WPS

More senators on Monday condemned China’s aggressive actions in the West Philippine Sea which resulted in a collision with Philippine vessels en route to a resupply mission to the Ayungin Shoal. For Senate Deputy Majority Leader Joseph Victor “JV” Ejercito, China “has gone too far in disrespecting the Philippines” when it performed “dangerous blocking maneuvers” that resulted in a collision with the Unaiza May 2, an indigenous boat contracted by the Armed Forces of the Philippines for a resupply mission to the BRP Sierra Madre. “I strongly condemn the recent aggression of the Chinese Coast Guard against our Philippine Coast Guard,” Ejercito said in a statement. “The reckless maneuvers executed by the CCG, which resulted in a collision with the Armed Forces of the Philippines-contracted resupply vessel, were not only provocative but also a blatant act of bullying that must be denounced, not only by us but by the international community,” he added. Ejercito said the act of harassment of China within the Philippines' exclusive economic zone “obviously violates our sovereignty and territorial integrity.” “We must strongly assert the 2016 arbitral ruling, which clearly affirms that the Philippines has the exclusive rights over the West Philippine Sea,” he said. “This ruling is not only legally binding but a reflection of the principles of international law,” he added. China claims the vast South China Sea, including the West Philippine Sea. However, on 12 July 2016, the Permanent Court of Arbitration favored the Philippines’ arbitral case against China. Seven years after the Tribunal favored the Philippines’ arbitral case against China, the ruling remains on paper as China continues to disregard it by keeping its illegal activities in the West Philippine Sea. Ejercito said it is “essential to note that this is not the first time the CCG has engaged in such provocative actions against our coastal guards and fisherfolks.” “Moreover, it is the government's duty to ensure the safety of our waters for all Filipinos. We cannot and will not allow such incidents to jeopardize the safety of our people, particularly those who serve in our armed forces and the PCG,” he said. “At the same time, I personally believe that it is high time to expedite the modernization of our Armed Forces in the coming years to protect our sovereignty, safeguard our maritime interests, and ensure the safety and security of our people,” he added. ‘Potential flashpoint’ Senator Grace Poe, likewise, expressed concern over the “dangerous blocking maneuver” carried out by CCG against Philippine vessels. “China's latest act of aggression poses a credible concern that could heighten the tension not only between Philippines and China, but could also be a potential flashpoint in the region,” Poe said in a separate statement. “While an immediate diplomatic protest is anticipated, the recent incident calls for a serious rethinking of our strategies in dealing with these acts,” she added. She continued: “As we firmly assert our rights in our waters, fortifying our relations with like-minded states must continue to thwart similar belligerent actions.” On Sunday, Senate President Juan Miguel “Migz” Zubiri, Senators Risa Hontiveros, and Francis Tolentino expressed their anger over the collision that put the safety of the Filipino crew at risk. “I am one with peace-loving Filipinos in strongly condemning this latest abhorrent actions of the China Coast Guard and Chinese maritime militia that put in danger the lives of our brave countrymen who were on a routine resupply mission to our troops in Ayungin Shoal,” Zubiri said. “Let me salute our personnel from the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) and the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) for displaying courage and restraint in continuing their resupply missions despite the hostile and treacherous acts of China Coast Guard and their maritime militia,” he added. Hontiveros echoed Zubiri’s call on China to “stop” its activities in the West Philippine Sea which she said clearly violates international law. “This latest collision is squarely the China Coast Guard’s fault,” she said in a separate statement. “The 2016 Arbitral Award has resolutely invalidated China’s claims in the West Philippine Sea, making this incident a clear violation of international law,” she added. For his part, Tolentino said the recent confrontation between the Philippines and China clearly shows China’s continuous disregard for international law. He noted that the incident should be investigated by the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea and the Code for Investigation ng Marine Casualties and Incidents of the International Maritime Organization. The post More senators condemn China’s ‘bullying’ in WPS appeared first on Daily Tribune......»»

Category: newsSource:  tribuneRelated NewsOct 23rd, 2023

EU envoy calls out China’s new floating barrier in Scarborough Shoal

“Deeply concerning.” This was how European Union Ambassador to the Philippines Luc Veron described China’s move to install a floating barrier around Scarborough Shoal Bajo, also known as Bajo de Masinloc. In a tweet, Veron flagged China’s newest actions in the West Philippine Sea, which now prevents Filipino fishermen from entering the shoal for their livelihood activities. He said that China’s action "disregards" the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea or UNCLOS. “The installation of the floating barrier is dangerous, detrimental to the livelihoods of Philippines fishermen, and disregards the peace-driven objectives of UNCLOS,” he said. Over the weekend, the Philippine Coast Guard reported the presence of the floating barrier in the southeastern portion of Bajo de Masinloc, allegedly installed by the China Coast Guard. Located 120 nautical miles from Zambales, Bajo de Masinloc is considered a traditional fishing ground for Filipinos in the West Philippine Sea. The Philippines’ Department of Foreign Affairs had already vowed to “take all necessary measures” to protect the country's sovereignty and the livelihood of affected Filipino fishermen. “We will take all appropriate measures to protect our country’s sovereignty and the livelihood of our fisherfolk,” the DFA said in a statement. China claims the vast South China Sea, including the West Philippine Sea. The 2016 Arbitral Award on the South China Sea invalidated Beijing’s historic nine-dash line claim in the entire South China Sea. Seven years after the Tribunal favored the Philippines’ arbitral case against China, the ruling remains on paper as China continues to disregard it by going about its illegal activities in the West Philippine Sea. The post EU envoy calls out China’s new floating barrier in Scarborough Shoal appeared first on Daily Tribune......»»

Category: lifestyleSource:  abscbnRelated NewsSep 25th, 2023

Senators seek removal of floating barrier in Bajo de Masinloc

Senators on Sunday sought the removal of the floating barrier installed by China in Bajo de Masinloc, a traditional fishing ground for Filipinos in the West Philippine Sea. In separate statements, Senate President Juan Miguel “Migz” Zubiri, Senators Risa Hontiveros and Francis Tolentino, called on the Philippine government to remove the floating barrier around Bajo de Masinloc, which prevents Filipino fishermen from entering the shoal for their livelihood activities. According to Zubiri, China has “no right to put any structures within our exclusive economic zone,” referring to the floating barriers allegedly installed by the Chinese Coast Guard around Bajo de Masinloc. “These structures pose a danger on passing fishing boats that can get entangled on the lines and cause considerable damage to the propellers and engines of our fisherfolk,” he said in a message to reporters on Viber. “Therefore I would like to request our Philippine Coast Guard to immediately cut and remove all these illegal structures located at our West Philippine Sea not just to assert our sovereign rights to the area but to protect our fishermen from any possible accidents that may arise from these illegal structures,” he added. The Philippine Coast Guard on early Sunday reported the presence of a floating barrier in the southern portion of Bajo de Masincloc – allegedly installed by China. The Senate chief expressed gratitude to the PCG for its “untiring ang unwavering commitment to watch and protect the areas within our Exclusive Economic Zones and Bajo de Masinloc is well within our 12NM territory.” “We in the Senate stand by our brave men and women who risk their lives for the freedoms that we enjoy today,” he said. Senator Francis Tolentino, who chairs the Senate Special Committee on Maritime and Admiralty Zones, echoed the Senate chief’s request on the PCG. “I agree with the removal of the floating barrier because it is not allowed to do it. It signifies a restricted zone,” Tolentino said in a separate statement on Filipino. According to him, only the Philippines is allowed to install floating barriers in emergencies such as oil spills or if its part of aquaculture management as a temporary measure. “Bajo de Masinloc is 120 nautical miles only from Zambales. Our fishermen should not be stopped by China from fishing in our fence,” he said. “China violated international law when it installed the floating barrier. It should be removed immediately. The PCG is correct in assisting our fishermen,” he added. Cruelty For her part, Hontiveros described the recent China’s act as “cruelty.” “China’s cruelty knows no bounds. They have no shame in blocking our fishermen from their own waters,” she said. “Filipino fisherfolk are among the poorest in our country. They only rely on our seas for their food and their livelihood,” she added. The opposition senator reiterated China’s aggressive actions in the West Philippine Sea, particularly the recent coral destruction along Rozul Reef and Escoda Shoal. “The next generation would no longer benefit from these natural resources,” she said. “We will not allow China to starve our fellow Filipinos to death. I trust that the Philippine Coast Guard can escort our fisherfolk and ensure that they pass through the floating barriers,” she added. Hontiveros renewed her call to President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. to review the current national policy towards China. “We should no longer accept acts like this going unpunished. If we allow China’s bullying to continue, it will cost the lives of our own people,” she stressed. The Daily Tribune sought comments from the Department of Foreign Affairs, and the Chinese Embassy in Manila about the developments in the West Philippine Sea, but they have yet to respond as of press time. The post Senators seek removal of floating barrier in Bajo de Masinloc appeared first on Daily Tribune......»»

Category: newsSource:  tribuneRelated NewsSep 24th, 2023

Gibo lambasts China’s remarks vs. BRP Sierra Madre causing harm in WPS: ‘Hypocritical’

Defense Secretary Gilberto Teodoro Jr. lambasted China for blaming the BRP Sierra Madre grounded on the Second Thomas (Ayungin) Shoal in the West Philippine Sea as the “pollutant” in the waters. Teodoro burst out after Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesperson Mao Ning claimed that BRP Sierra Madre was the one causing sea waste in the WPS. “The statement of China that the grounded Sierra Madre is causing irrevocable harm is to put it as politely as possible—hypocritical,” Teodoro, told reporters on Saturday, reacting to Mao Ning’s statement on the Philippine Navy ship. The BRP Sierra Madre is the country’s warship that was deliberately run aground in Ayungin Shoal in 1995 to serve as an outpost of the Armed Forces of the Philippines. Mao Ning called on the Philippines to tow away "rusting" Sierra Madre ship in their so-called Ren'ai Jiao (Ayungin Shoal) and "stop polluting" the waters around it “if it really cares about the environment.” The Philippine officials did not welcome such a statement from the Chinese government, claiming almost entire features of the South China Sea, without legal basis. Following Mao Ning’s remarks, the Office of Solicitor General said it is considering the filing of a lawsuit against China before an international court, for allegedly destroying coral reefs in at least two key features in the WPS—namely Rozul (Iroquois) reef and Escoda (Sabina) Shoal. This came after the AFP’s Western Command, based in Palawan, and the Philippine Coast Guard disclosed that coral reefs that were once abundant in the seabed of these shoals were “extensively destroyed.” These areas were also subjected to the swarming of Chinese maritime militia and other Chinese fishing vessels. Teodoro had said they are validating whether the report has been linked with the possible reclamation of artificial islands in the West Philippine Sea. “Talk about the pot calling the kettle black! China continues to damage the WPS by its illegal reclamation activities in the SCS and it was found to be a violator of international law in the 2016 Arbitral Award when such activities damaged the marine environment,” Teodoro lamented. Teodoro described China’s remarks as mere “propaganda” to divert international attention from their illegal activities in the WPS. “Disingenuous propaganda lines such as this only serve to expose China’s insincerity and will only heighten the mistrust by the Filipino people and the rest of the world of the Chinese Government,” said Teodoro. China has repeatedly tuned out the Philippines’ sovereign rights over the WPS which was based on the 2016 arbitral ruling of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea. The post Gibo lambasts China’s remarks vs. BRP Sierra Madre causing harm in WPS: ‘Hypocritical’ appeared first on Daily Tribune......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsSep 23rd, 2023

Beijing going on an island-building binge?

The harvesting of corals on Rozul Reef could be part of China’s preparations for new reclamation in the West Philippine Sea, senators warned Monday. Citing China’s “playbook,” Senate President Juan Miguel Zubiri suspected the destruction of the shoal’s seabed could be in preparation for reclamation activities in the area. “It’s possible. That has been their guidebook and playbook since the beginning where they destroy an area first and then reclaim it. That’s why we have to remain vigilant,” Zubiri said. The warning came on the same day that Japan’s ambassador to the Philippines, Kazuhiko Koshikawa, revealed in a social media post that his country had also been a victim of coral poaching in the past. “In the territorial waters and EEZ (exclusive economic zone) around Japan’s Ogasawara Islands, the large-scale poaching of precious corals by foreign vessels occurred 10 years ago, causing marine environmental and economic damage to Japan, leading to [a] diplomatic issue and strict JCG (Japan Coast Guard) controls,” Koshikawa tweeted on X. The envoy, however, did not name the country responsible for the pillaging of corals off Ogasawara Islands. Over the weekend, the Armed Forces of the Philippines Western Command reported that there was massive coral harvesting at Rozul Reef. The report of missing and destroyed corals came following the sightings of Chinese maritime militia vessels in the area. The report was confirmed by the Philippine Coast Guard, which observed the same coral inundation in the seabed of Escoda Reef (Sabina Shoal), also in the West Philippine Sea.   Airstrips Senator Francis Tolentino, who chairs the Senate Special Committee on Maritime and Admiralty Zones, echoed the Senate chief’s observation that China may be planning to build manmade structures at Rozul Reef like it did in the Spratlys group of islands, also in the WPS. China built artificial islands in the Spratlys — at the Fiery Cross, Subi, Mischief, Johnson South, Cuarteron, Gave and Hughes reefs — where it constructed airstrips, radar stations and missile sites. “There might be a different plan for that, not only the harvesting of corals and the destruction of it. Because killing the corals is a prelude to one thing — when you kill it you can now do reclamation,” Tolentino said in a television interview. He noted that China’s actions in the reefs that are all within the Philippines’ EEZ violated the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea. “If we are to file a claim for damages, it should be in the tribunal recognized by UNCLOS and the United Nations,” he said. He noted that the Philippine government may file cases against China before the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea, the International Court of Justice, or the Permanent Court of Arbitration. Meanwhile, Senator Risa Hontiveros said the recent developments in the West Philippine Sea called for a Senate inquiry. “It’s ripe for a Senate resolution and investigation because it would not be the first time that China caused environmental degradation in our sea,” Hontiveros said. “They also dredged our seafloor to invent their artificial islands, militarize them, within the West Philippine Sea and our exclusive economic zone, to claim it as their territory,” she pointed out. The lawmaker expressed gratitude to the Armed Forces of the Philippines for its discovery of the damaged seabed at Rozul and Escoda Reefs. WITH LADE JEAN KABAGANI The post Beijing going on an island-building binge? appeared first on Daily Tribune......»»

Category: newsSource:  tribuneRelated NewsSep 18th, 2023

Chinese Coast Guard bullies PCG, AFP in WPS

The spokesperson for the West Philippine Sea, Coast Guard Commodore Jay Tarriela on Friday confirmed another bullying incident involving Chinese maritime personnel to the Philippine Coast Guard during its recent routine Rotation and Resupply mission in Ayungin Shoal on Friday. He said the PCG again assisted in the routine Rotation and Resupply mission in Ayungin Shoal conducted by the Armed Forces of the Philippines, and it deployed two 44-meter vessels, namely BRP Cabra (MRRV-4409) and BRP Sindangan (MRRV-4407), as escort ships for the resupply boats “The routine RoRe mission was again subjected to dangerous maneuvers by the four China Coast Guard (CCG 21616, CCG 21551, CCG 21556, and CCG 5305) and four Chinese Maritime Militia (QIONG SANSHA YU 00231, QIONG SANSHA YU 00115, QIONG SANSHA YU 00114, and QIONG SANSHA YU 00008), jeopardizing the crew members' safety aboard the PCG vessels and Philippine resupply boats,” he said in a statement on Friday. Despite the challenging circumstances brought about by the illegal presence and activities of the CCG and CMM in our exclusive economic zone, Tarriela said the mission was carried out successfully and the much-needed supplies were delivered to our dedicated troops aboard the BRP Sierra Madre. “The PCG stands shoulder-to-shoulder with the AFP in our shared commitment to safeguarding our sovereignty, sovereign rights, and maritime jurisdiction in accordance with international law, particularly the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea or UNCLOS and the 2016 Arbitral Award and other relevant international instruments, including the 1972 Convention on the International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea. “The PCG calls upon the CCG and CMM to immediately cease any illegal activities within the maritime zones of the Philippines. Doing so can foster a stable, secure, and rules-based maritime order conducive to regional cooperation and peace,” Tarriela stated. Further, he maintained that “under the leadership of the Commandant, Coast Guard Admiral Artemio Abu, the PCG supports President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.’s call, made during the recent ASEAN Summit, for the Southeast Asian nations to unite against the use of coast guard and maritime militia vessels in the South China Sea to pursue claims inconsistent with international law." The post Chinese Coast Guard bullies PCG, AFP in WPS appeared first on Daily Tribune......»»

Category: newsSource:  inquirerRelated NewsSep 8th, 2023

Poor team player

A string of blunders by the United States contributed greatly to the aggressiveness of China in the West Philippine Sea, in disregard of the 2016 Permanent Court of Arbitration ruling that invalidated most of China’s maritime claims. A geopolitical expert even suggested that America’s traditional ally, the Philippines, was left out in the cold after the Obama administration initiated its Asian pivot to contain China. Dean Cheng, senior advisor to the China program at the US Institute of Peace, a federal watchdog on the global situation, assessed the recent deployment of “ships and other maritime forces to the disputed Spratly islands near the Philippines.” Cheng identified China’s goal as coerce the Philippines into withdrawing from the contested Second Thomas Shoal (Ayungin Shoal) to effectively cede it to the People’s Republic of China or PRC. The expert who advises the US government said China’s actions “are in defiance of the international Permanent Court of Arbitration’s findings that undermined the PRC claims to the Spratlys and they constitute a serious challenge to the international rules governing maritime conduct.” Cheng traced the unabated Chinese incursions to the poor handling of the situation during the 2012 standoff at Scarborough Shoal that practically encouraged Beijing to build permanent military structures on the sea formation. The weak response of the US government to China’s sea maneuvers emboldened increasingly drastic actions in the disputed region which Beijing claims is historically its territory. “It is worth recalling that in 2012, the United States chose to persuade the Philippines to withdraw from Scarborough Shoal (a separate set of features north of the Spratlys) while making no effort to compel the PRC to do the same. In effect, Washington forced Manila to cede that set of features to the PRC,” Cheng said. Worse, under President Barack Obama, the US took a three-year hiatus from freedom of navigation operations in the South China Sea, an absence that coincided with massive Chinese construction on features it controlled. “For the United States to once again fail to counter Chinese efforts to dominate a region that sees some $3.37 trillion in trade would reinforce a perception of American withdrawal,” according to Cheng. Over the years, Cheng said, the PRC has become more assertive in supporting its ambiguous claims. It has extended patrols in the area, often arresting foreign fishing boats for violating the nine-dash line while requiring everyone who wishes to fish there to register with Sansha in the Paracels, a Chinese prefecture. China has also undertaken extensive land reclamation on rocks and reefs under its control, totaling over 3,000 acres on artificial islands in the Spratlys — dwarfing all other claimants combined. “Despite promises not to militarize these new features, the PRC has deployed artillery pieces and rockets and built runways that can support both fighter and cargo aircraft,” Cheng said. China is intent on coercing the Philippines out of its position in the Spratlys, regardless of legal rights and claims. According to the US expert, it is likely that the Permanent Court of Arbitration’s findings have only strengthened China’s “resolve to secure the Spratlys (as well as the separate Scarborough Shoal and Macclesfield Bank territories). At the same time, the PRC is likely trying to signal to the region that American support is both escalatory and counterproductive.” The US has not matched its strong statements on the West Philippine Sea dispute, such as its frequent assurances to the Philippines of an iron-clad alliance, with determined moves, thus giving China the impetus to gradually ramp up its actions. When the ball was in its court, the US, because of domestic political considerations, exited the game leaving its teammate at the mercy of its powerful opponent. The post Poor team player appeared first on Daily Tribune......»»

Category: newsSource:  tribuneRelated NewsAug 17th, 2023

Malacañang denies govt promised China to remove BRP Sierra Madre

  Malacañang denied rumors on Wednesday that the Philippine government promised China to remove the BRP Sierra Madre from Ayungin Shoal. Communications Secretary Cheloy Garafil made the clarification to Palace reporters after China claimed that the Philippine government had earlier promised to remove the vessel in the Ayungin Shoal, which Beijing calls Ren’ai Jiao. "No such thing," Garafil said in a message to reporters, echoing the statement of the Department of Foreign Affairs that BRP Sierra Madre will remain stay at Ayungin Shoal. The ship has been stationed at Ayungin Shoal since 1999 to assert the Philippines' sovereignty over the area. China, however, claims Ayungin Shoal as part of its territory. "In 1999, the Philippines sent a military vessel and deliberately ran it aground at Ren’ai Jiao, attempting to change the status quo of Ren’ai Jiao illegally. The Philippines promised several times to tow it away but has yet to act,” read a statement from the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Ayungin can be found at a distance of 105.77 nautical miles from the nearest Philippine province, Palawan. It forms an integral part of the Philippines' 200-nautical mile continental shelf, a provision outlined by the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea. Ayungin Shoal is also more than 1,000 kilometers from China's nearest major landmass, Hainan island. Over the weekend, the Philippine Coast Guard reported that the China Coast Guard engaged in hazardous maneuvers and used water cannons against Philippine vessels involved in supplying military troops stationed aboard the BRP Sierra Madre with essentials like food, water, fuel, and other necessities. Subsequent to the incident, President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. said the Philippine government sent a note verbale to China. Additionally, the President underscored that the Philippines will continue to assert its territorial claims within the West Philippine Sea. China, however, has defended its recent actions as "professional" and accused the Philippines of "illegal delivery of construction materials" to the grounded ship. "Twenty-four years have passed, the Philippine side has not only failed to tow away the warship but also attempted to repair and reinforce it on a large scale to achieve permanent occupation of the Ren'ai Reef," a foreign ministry spokesperson said, using the Chinese term for the Ayungin Shoal. China also said last month that it does not acknowledge or accept the 2016 ruling of the South China Sea Arbitral Tribunal by the Philippines. This ruling determined that Beijing's assertion of near-total control over the South China Sea lacked a valid basis. The post Malacañang denies govt promised China to remove BRP Sierra Madre appeared first on Daily Tribune......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsAug 9th, 2023

Bong Go calls on Chinese gov’t to ‘stop bullying’ Philippines

Senator Christopher "Bong" Go condemned at the Senate plenary on Monday, 7 August the recent harassment of Philippine vessels by the Chinese Coast Guard. The harassment in question took place during a peaceful resupply mission to the Ayungin Shoal on 5 August. The Chinese Coast Guard used a water cannon against the Philippine vessels, an act Go has vehemently condemned. "Grabeng respeto ang ibinigay sa inyo, simula pa noong panahon ni dating pangulong Duterte. Sa anim na taon, binigay ni Pangulong Duterte ang lahat ng respeto,” he said in his manifestation in support of the privilege speech of Senate President Migz Zubiri. The senator’s condemnation references the cordial diplomatic relationship cultivated under the previous administration of then president Rodrigo Duterte, where much respect was extended to China. Go emphasized the need for resilience and strength in the face of such incidents, urging the nation to uphold its worth and to protect its sovereignty. He asserted, "What is ours is ours. We must remain consistent on our foreign policy of being friends to all enemy to none. But we must also stand firm on protecting our sovereignty." The senator has also appealed to President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr., being the chief architect of the country's foreign policy, to continue to safeguard the safety of Filipinos and the country’s national interests. He expressed his confidence that Marcos will uphold the country's sovereign rights over the West Philippine Sea with the assistance of international partners. He emphasized that this issue does not solely concern the Philippines but also the entire world. Go called upon members of the international community to demonstrate sincerity not just in words, but in actions, in respecting other nations. The PCG has already condemned the Chinese Coast Guard's actions and called it "illegal" and "dangerous". These actions, the PCG said, not only disregarded the safety of the crew and the supply boats, but also violated international law, including the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, Convention on the International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea, and the 2016 Arbitral Award.   The post Bong Go calls on Chinese gov’t to ‘stop bullying’ Philippines appeared first on Daily Tribune......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsAug 8th, 2023

Bato calls for sustainability of AFP assets

Senator Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa emphasized the need for the government to prepare for sustainability and ensure the maintenance of procured defense assets while modernizing the Armed Forces of the Philippines. “As we move (toward) modernizing our Armed Forces, we must likewise prepare for the sustainability of these procured assets,” he said. Dela Rosa made the suggestion during Monday’s Senate public hearing on the National Defense Act and Self-Resilience Defense Posture Revitalization by the Committee on National Defense and Security, Peace, Unification and Reconciliation held jointly with the Committees on Civil Service, Government Reorganization and Professional Regulation, Ways and Means and Finance. “While we aim to modernize and strengthen our Armed Forces through the procurement of defense equipment and materiel, improvements should not only be limited to the development of defense capabilities,” Dela Rosa said. He said the country’s foreign policy and defense capability were constantly challenged by China, notably with the series of harassment incidents in the West Philippine Sea. Hence, he stressed, the modernization of the AFP should include military structures that are also adaptable to the changing times. “This was likewise the call of President Bongbong Marcos during his first State of the Nation Address when he recognized the need to amend the decades-old National Defense Act of 1935,” Dela Rosa said, noting that he has been advocating for legislative measures that will protect the country’s sovereignty against both internal and external security threats. Dela Rosa said the government should not only focus on acquiring modern defense equipment but also consider the training and retooling of soldiers so they could better use the procured AFP assets. “We acknowledge and welcome the call of the President to prioritize this legislative measure. Indeed, we must not surrender even a single inch of our territory,” he said. “While we rally behind him and his wisdom in peacefully resolving our territorial dispute, we also recognize and support his moves to accelerate the modernization of our troops,” he added. Dela Rosa said the issue of insufficient funds for the procurement of spare parts of various defense assets had been raised during the budget hearing last year. The post Bato calls for sustainability of AFP assets appeared first on Daily Tribune......»»

Category: newsSource:  tribuneRelated NewsAug 7th, 2023

U.S. threatens MDT use

The Philippines and the United States condemned the China Coast Guard or CCG on Sunday for firing water cannons and interfering with the legal operations of Philippine vessels in the West Philippine Sea. Armed Forces spokesperson Col. Medel Aguilar confirmed that at least one chartered supply boat being escorted by the Philippine Coast Guard was “blocked and water-cannoned” by a CCG vessel on Saturday, 5 August. The Philippine vessels were en route to Ayungin or Second Thomas Shoal for a routine troop rotation and resupply mission when they were attacked by the CCG, Aguilar said in a statement to journalists. Aguilar characterized the attack as a “wanton disregard of the safety of the people on board and in violation of international law, particularly the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, or UNCLOS, and the 2016 Arbitral Award.” “The Ayungin Shoal is a low tide elevation that is part of the Philippines’ exclusive economic zone and continental shelf, pursuant to the 1982 UNCLOS and as affirmed by the 2016 Arbitral Award,” the Department of Foreign Affairs stressed in a statement. The US State Department immediately issued a warning that China’s provocative actions in the WPS, which overlaps with the South China Sea, or SCS, could make it invoke its Mutual Defense Treaty, or MDT, with the Philippines. Signed in 1951, the MDT states that if either country is attacked by an external party, the other country will come to its defense. The United States also called on China to abide by the 2016 arbitral ruling that found China’s claims in the South China Sea to be illegal. “Such actions by the PRC are inconsistent with international law and are the latest in repeated threats to the status quo in the South China Sea, directly threatening regional peace and stability,” a US State Department statement said. “By impeding necessary provisions from reaching the Filipino service members stationed at Second Thomas Shoal, the PRC has also undertaken unwarranted interference in lawful Philippine maritime operations,” the US pointed out.   Heightened tension The incident further heightened tension between the Philippines and China in the West Philippine Sea, notwithstanding the visit of President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. to Beijing in January. Filipino lawmakers immediately condemned China’s actions (See related story). In a separate statement, the PCG reported that the use of water cannons by the CCG forced the Philippine vessels to change course, preventing them from reaching Ayungin Shoal. In recent months, the CCG has been increasingly aggressive in its patrols of the area, leading to a number of incidents between the two countries. The 2016 arbitral ruling recognized the WPS as part of the Philippines’ exclusive economic zone while invalidating China’s nine-dash line claim of ownership of nearly the whole of the South China Sea. China has rejected the arbitral ruling. “The United States calls upon the PRC to abide by the arbitral ruling as well as to respect the freedom of navigation, a right to which all states are entitled,” the US State Department said. It added that an armed attack on Philippine vessels, aircraft, and armed forces, including those of its coast guard in the WPS, “would invoke US mutual defense commitments under Article IV of the 1951 US-Philippine Mutual Defense Treaty.” In February, the CCG vessels pointed a military-grade laser light at the BRP Malapascua, which caused temporary blindness in some of its Filipino crew. In separate statements, Japan, Australia, Canada and the European Union called on China to stop its harassment of Philippine vessels. Japanese Ambassador to the Philippines Koshikawa Kazuhiko decried the incident. “Totally unacceptable, any harassment and actions which infringe on lawful activities of the sea and endanger the navigational safety,” Koshikawa said in a tweet. “Australia is concerned by the latest actions directed against the Philippines, which are dangerous and destabilizing,” Australian Ambassador to the Philippines HK Yu said in another tweet. Yu also called on China to “respect the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea for peace and stability in the South China Sea, which is a vital international waterway.” The Canadian Embassy in the Philippines echoed the same sentiments and said the country “unreservedly condemns the dangerous and provocative actions taken by the Chinese Coast Guard against Philippine vessels.” Likewise, European Union Ambassador to the Philippines Luc Veron expressed concern about the incident. “Very concerned about dangerous action in South China Sea. The EU stands with the Philippines in upholding the rules-based international order,” Veron said. The post U.S. threatens MDT use appeared first on Daily Tribune......»»

Category: newsSource:  tribuneRelated NewsAug 6th, 2023

Wise up, China and Russia

Dear Editor   “The map is not the territory.” — Alfred Korzybski China and Russia can have and keep their respective maps with all their might. In the case of China, it is its map of the entire South China Sea, but not the sea itself because no Philippine territory (West Philippine Sea to be specific) is owned by any foreign country. In China’s nine-dash line map, Chinese officials are free to commit all the aggressions and bullying they want to do and no nation will protest, not even the Philippines. They can build as many illegal structures there as they want and our government will not file for sure a single note verbale because Filipinos respect China’s dignity. Furthermore, there is no need for the Philippine government (in such an instance) to assert the ruling of the Arbitral Court that found there is no more need for the Armed Forces of the Philippines to prepare for the defense of our maritime territory against China. And what about the Philippines continually expecting the promised support/backing of big, developed nations like the  United States, Australia, Japan, United Kingdom, Canada, Germany, the entire European Union and many other thinking nations for any eventuality — in defense of what belongs to Filipinos in the disputed sea? By the way, China’s nine-dash line is stranger than fiction, according to world experts. Are you willing/ready and capable to going to war with the world, dear China? German Chancellor/dictator Adolf Hitler invaded Poland in 1939, which triggered World War 2, yet Hitler was the one who ended up invaded by hell as he ultimately committed suicide in 1945, out of frustration and desperation, or guilt. Aside from many other lesser crimes against humanity that evil Hitler committed, he massacred over six million Jews at the altar of his selfish and narcissistic ambition. Unforgivable. Pray that Xi Jinping and Vladimir Putin would take a cue from Hitler’s colossal blunder — vis-a-vis the West Philippine Sea, Ukraine and Taiwan. I read somewhere two years ago that a Western superpower has advanced scientifically and technologically in ways unprecedented and unparalleled in the matter of military might. I was led to ask: What nation could be more powerful than this nation which has the knack/capability, an unseen weaponry or “mechanism” in space to detect and redirect at the same time any kind of nuclear bomb launched against it — back to its point of origin? Watch out and wise up, China, Russia (and North Korea)! Learn from world history before it’s too late. Wouldn’t you behave and allow sanity, civility, reason and peace to prevail? What seems to be so difficult about the act when it won’t even cost you a dime or a single, precious human life to do it? Remember, good always triumphs over bad.   Reni M. Valenzuela renivalenzuelaletters@yahoo.com The post Wise up, China and Russia appeared first on Daily Tribune......»»

Category: lifestyleSource:  abscbnRelated NewsJul 31st, 2023

Defense chief Teodoro calls out China for ‘insulting’ Marcos | The wRap

The wRap's highlights: Philippines-China relations, Rewind film, Samsung S24.....»»

Category: newsSource:  rapplerRelated NewsJan 18th, 2024

China accuses the Philippines of ‘seriously harming’ regional peace | The wRap

The wRap's highlights: West Philippine Sea, Pope Francis on Gaza, CJ Cansino.....»»

Category: newsSource:  rapplerRelated NewsDec 26th, 2023

China warns the Philippines over tensions in the West Philippine Sea | The wRap

The wRap's highlights: West Philippine Sea, fake Malacañang document, EU adult sites regulations.....»»

Category: newsSource:  rapplerRelated NewsDec 21st, 2023

Stock markets dip as US inflation comes into view

Stock markets drifted lower on Monday as investors eyed the release this week of key US inflation data that could guide Federal Reserve plans for interest rates going into the new year. Oil prices fell nearly two percent before bouncing higher and then sliding back lower as dealers awaited a delayed meeting of OPEC and its allies to decide over output levels. With Wall Street seeing little action at the back of last week owing to the Thanksgiving break, traders had few catalysts to drive action, though analysts were upbeat about the end of the year. "Although there isn't much buying interest at the moment, it's more notable that there still isn't much selling interest," said Briefing.com analyst Patrick O'Hare. The retreat in equities comes after a recent run-up across world stock markets fuelled by bets the US central bank has finished lifting interest rates as inflation comes down and the jobs market comes off the boil.  Expectations that the Federal Reserve is done with hiking rates continued to weigh on the dollar Monday. The main focus this week is the release Thursday of the personal consumption expenditures (PCE) price index, the Fed's preferred gauge of inflation. "These numbers will be closely scrutinized for insights into inflation trends and their potential implications for monetary policy decisions," said SPI Asset Management's Stephen Innes. "While the current backdrop does not signify 'mission accomplished' in terms of addressing inflation, policymakers must now focus on planning for the next phase of the economic battle." Still, observers were upbeat about the outlook, with the latest weakness blamed on traders taking a breather after a strong month. Tony Sycamore, at IG Group, said early December could see some selling as investors "rebuild energy and (look) to set up for the end-of-year fireworks". Others said a drop in Wall Street's VIX "fear gauge" -- a measure of equity volatility -- to its lowest since January 2020 suggested investors were getting their mojo back. Eyes are also on developments at OPEC after the group and its allies, notably Russia, delayed a meeting aimed at agreeing production quotas, with some African countries said to be baulking at Saudi Arabian calls for more cuts. The group is thought to be close to reaching an agreement that could see the Saudis and Russia extend output reductions into the new year. OANDA analyst Craig Erlam said the OPEC+ group has shown in the past it usually can get a deal done, even if Saudi Arabia and Russia need shoulder bigger cuts. "But the question is how far they'll push it, given the recent trend in oil prices and increasing concerns around global growth next year," said Erlam. Crude prices have fallen in recent weeks as demand is seen coming down owing to slowing economies, particularly China's, and the Middle East conflict appears to not have expanded to include other countries in the region. Key figures around 1630 GMT New York - DOW: DOWN 0.2 percent at 35,338.58 points London - FTSE 100: DOWN 0.4 percent at 7,460.70 (close) Paris - CAC 40: DOWN 0.4 percent at 7,265.49 (close) Frankfurt - DAX: DOWN 0.4 percent at 15,966.37 (close) EURO STOXX 50: DOWN 0.4 percent at 4,354.41 (close) Tokyo - Nikkei 225: DOWN 0.5 percent at 33,447.67 (close) Hong Kong - Hang Seng Index: DOWN 0.2 percent at 17,525.06 (close) Shanghai - Composite: DOWN 0.3 percent at 3,031.70 (close) Euro/dollar: UP at $1.0935 from $1.0922 Pound/dollar: UP at $1.2611 from $1.2585 Euro/pound: DOWN at 86.70 pence from 86.79 pence Dollar/yen: DOWN at 148.94 from 149.56 yen  West Texas Intermediate: DOWN 0.1 percent at $75.44 per barrel  Brent North Sea crude: DOWN 0.3 percent at $80.36 per barrel .....»»

Category: newsSource:  tribuneRelated NewsNov 27th, 2023

Generals, flag officers: China harassment disregards sea rules

China has clearly disregarded the international conventions on the Safety of Life at Sea and International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea following its Coast Guard’s latest aggressive actions against Philippine resupply boats in Ayungin Shoal in the West Philippines, according to the Association of General and Flag Officers. AGFO strongly denounced the “dangerous maneuvers” of the Chinese Coast Guard and the Chinese maritime militia boats that collided with the Armed Forces of the Philippines-contracted resupply boat and Philippine Coast Guard escort vessel during the country’s re-provisioning mission to the BRP Sierra Madre, grounded in the Ayungin Shoal. “The latest harassments clearly reflect China's disregard of international conventions on Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS 1974) and International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea (COLREGS 1972),” the AGFO statement read. AGFO believes China's intrusion in the Philippines’ exclusive economic zone “aims to subvert the sovereign rights of the Filipino people, by unrestricted fishing, willful destruction of corals, and continued illegal presence.” As a signatory of the 1982 UNCLOS and a "party" to the 2016 Arbitral Ruling, China is “fully aware of maritime rights of coastal states” — that includes exploration and exploitation of marine and seabed resources and the preservation of the marine environment. But it continues to propagate contrary narratives, said the group. “From its actions and narratives, China has maintained its strategy in South China -- ignoring the 2016 Arbitral Ruling, employing its seagoing forces, reinforcing its artificially-built island bases, and wearing off other claimants -- to exercise undisputed control over the waterway,” AGFO underscored. “This strategy clearly reflects China's hegemonic behavior that intimidates weak nations, threatens the freedom of navigation therein and deprives the other claimants of their patrimony,” it added. AGFO expressed support to the Philippine government in considering crafting and implementing all necessary initiatives to preserve the country’s maritime entitlements in the West Philippine Sea. The post Generals, flag officers: China harassment disregards sea rules appeared first on Daily Tribune......»»

Category: newsSource:  tribuneRelated NewsOct 27th, 2023