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Philippines not stirring trouble in West Philippine Sea – Teodoro

China is “reversing the truth” in accusing the Philippines of stirring trouble by conducting joint maritime patrols with the United States military in the West Philippine Sea, Defense Secretary Gilbert Teodoro said yesterday......»»

Category: newsSource: philstar philstarNov 25th, 2023

Collision or ramming?

When nations compete for dominance, the concepts of fairness and sovereignty often go by the wayside. This weekend’s collision of Philippine vessels with Chinese ships in the West Philippine Sea should serve as a vivid reminder of China’s aggressive expansionism in this crucial maritime region. While troubling, this incident is just part of a larger pattern of Chinese harassment of Philippine vessels within our territorial waters. China once again relied on its victim-blaming strategy, accusing the Philippines of “deliberately stirring up trouble” in an incident that the Philippine Coast Guard allegedly planned. These claims are ridiculous and unfounded, part of China’s long-running endeavor to legitimize its illegal acts in the West Philippine Sea. But regardless of Beijing’s bluster, the Philippines has the right to stand up to a neighborhood bully. Its claim to sovereignty over the West Philippine Sea is firmly rooted in the Permanent Court of Arbitration’s 2016 ruling, which categorically rejected China’s extensive claims over nearly the entire South China Sea, including areas that overlap with the West Philippine Sea. This landmark decision made it evident that China’s historical claims do not hold up under international law, in an area where competing claims by other countries like Malaysia, Vietnam, Brunei and Taiwan have sparked geopolitical concerns. Historically, the territorial irritants that have the potential to become full-blown conflicts have centered on fishing rights, oil and gas reserves, and the strategic importance of controlling these waterways. Still, unlike China’s bold territorial expansion and contempt for international jurisprudence, the Philippines’ approach is founded on the rule of law. China’s predilections extend beyond the assertion of spurious territorial claims, as it includes the unauthorized construction of artificial islands in the South China Sea. These man-made islands function as military outposts, providing China with a strategic regional advantage. Such acts are not only illegal, but they also pose a direct threat to regional peace and stability. As the Philippines struggles for its rights, exposing China’s duplicity on a global scale is critical. While China portrays itself as a rational and responsible nation in international crises such as the Russia-Ukraine crisis and the Israel-Hamas conflict, its actions in the South China Sea reflect a different face — that of a regional bully. China cannot preach peace and diplomacy while actively pursuing territorial expansion and disregarding international law when it does not support its aspirations. The collision (or was it an intentional incident of ramming by China of Philippine vessels?) near the Second Thomas Shoal in the Spratly Islands is just the latest chapter in China’s unrelenting pursuit of regional supremacy. Philippine efforts to safeguard its sovereignty and defend international law merit support not only from its neighbors, but also from the world community at large. The West Philippine Sea is more than just a body of water; it represents sovereignty, justice, and the triumph of law over aggression. The Philippines’ resistance to China’s bullying is a fight for the rights of all nations that value international norms, territorial integrity, and conflict resolution through peaceful means. China’s activities in the West Philippine Sea and its disrespect for the verdict of the Permanent Court of Arbitration must be countered by the international community with the position that in the South China Sea, might does not equal right. As we consider the perilous situation in the West Philippine Sea, it’s critical to understand that this is not a one-off occurrence but part of a larger pattern. The Philippines has been subjected to constant harassment by Chinese vessels within its own waters. Filipino fishermen are being harassed, maritime resources (like coral reefs) are being pillaged, and Filipino military troops are being put in danger by Chinese warships that have no business being in Philippine waters. There can never be a repeat of the 2012 Scarborough Shoal standoff, which allowed China to build bases on man-made islands. As it stands resolute against China’s gunboat diplomacy, the Philippines serves as a beacon of hope for all nations confronting unjustified hostility. The Philippines’ dedication to upholding international law, maintaining its sovereignty, and defending its people’s rights is admirable. The post Collision or ramming? appeared first on Daily Tribune......»»

Category: newsSource:  tribuneRelated NewsOct 22nd, 2023

Philippines, China trade blame over collisions in disputed sea

Beijing and Manila traded blame on Sunday for two collisions between Chinese vessels and Philippine boats on a resupply mission to Filipino troops on a remote outpost in the disputed South China Sea. The incidents happened near Second Thomas Shoal in the Spratly Islands, a hotly contested region where Beijing deploys ships to assert its claims over almost the entire sea. A Philippine government task force said the "dangerous blocking manoeuvers of China Coast Guard vessel 5203 caused it to collide with the Armed Forces of the Philippines-contracted indigenous resupply boat" about 25 kilometres (15 miles) from Second Thomas Shoal. China said the "slight collision" happened after the resupply boat ignored "multiple warnings and deliberately passed through law enforcement in an unprofessional and dangerous manner", state broadcaster CCTV reported, citing the foreign ministry. In another incident, a Philippine coastguard vessel escorting the routine resupply mission was "bumped" by what the Philippine task force described as a "Chinese Maritime Militia vessel". China, however, accused the Philippine boat of "deliberately" stirring up trouble by reversing in a "premeditated manner" into a Chinese fishing vessel. Video released by the Philippine military showed the bow of the Chinese coastguard ship and the stern of the resupply vessel briefly touching. The Philippine vessel continues on its course. It is not clear if there was any damage. A second resupply boat was able to reach the grounded BRP Sierra Madre and "successfully resupply our troops and personnel stationed there", the statement said. "The National Task Force for the West Philippine Sea condemns in the strongest degree the latest dangerous, irresponsible, and illegal actions of the CCG and the Chinese Maritime Militia done this morning," the task force said in a statement. It said the "provocative, irresponsible, and illegal action" of the Chinese coastguard boat had endangered the safety of the crew on the supply boat. China claims almost the entire South China Sea, through which trillions of dollars in trade passes annually, and has ignored an international ruling that its assertion has no legal basis. Second Thomas Shoal is about 200 kilometres (124 miles) from the western Philippine island of Palawan, and more than 1,000 kilometres from China's nearest major landmass, Hainan island. China said "responsibility lies entirely with the Philippines" for Sunday's incidents. As China moves ever more confidently to assert its claims to sovereignty over the waters, officials and experts have warned of the potential for collisions. "This is exactly the kind of event that can happen given their dangerous manoeuvring," said Jay Batongbacal, director of the University of the Philippines' Institute for Maritime Affairs and Law of the Sea. Batongbacal said the Chinese coastguard had deliberately hit the Philippine resupply vessel to see how Manila would respond and test the resolve of the Philippines' longtime ally Washington. "You don't accidentally hit another vessel out in the open ocean," Batongbacal told AFP. - US condemns 'latest disruption' - The Philippine Navy deliberately grounded the World War II-era BRP Sierra Madre on Second Thomas Shoal in 1999 to check China's advance in the waters. The troops stationed on the crumbling ship depend on regular supply deliveries for their survival. The Philippines has outposts on nine reefs and islands in the Spratlys, including Second Thomas Shoal. US Ambassador to the Philippines MaryKay Carlson said the United States condemned China's "latest disruption of a legal Philippine resupply mission" that put "the lives of Filipino service members at risk". Manila and Beijing have a long history of maritime disputes in the South China Sea. Tensions flared in August when China Coast Guard vessels used water cannons against a Philippine resupply mission to Second Thomas Shoal, preventing one of the boats from delivering its cargo. A Chinese ship in April narrowly missed colliding with a much smaller Philippine Coast Guard vessel in the same area. (Cecil Morella with Sebastien Ricci in Beijing) burs-amj/lb © Agence France-Presse The post Philippines, China trade blame over collisions in disputed sea appeared first on Daily Tribune......»»

Category: newsSource:  tribuneRelated NewsOct 22nd, 2023

Teodoro: Phl ‘not provoking trouble’ in Scarborough Shoal; ‘We are just reacting’

Defense Secretary Gilberto Teodoro Jr. on Wednesday clarified that the Philippines is not provoking any trouble in Scarborough shoal as accused by Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Wenbin. “Sila po ang nagpo-provoke. Hindi naman ho tayo (They are the ones provoking. It’s not us),” Teodoro said during the Senate’s public hearing on the Proposed 2024 national expenditure program of the Department of National Defense and attached agencies. During the hearing, Senator Robinhood Padilla asked Teodoro’s response to Wang’s recent advice to the Philippines “not to stir up trouble” in Huangyan Island—the Chinese name for Scarborough shoal, also known as Bajo de Masinloc. “Sino po ba talaga ang nagpo-provoke? Sila o Tayo? (Who is really provoking? Is it them or us?” Padilla asked. Teodoro denied any provocation from the Philippines, saying the country is only "reacting to China’s actions” against Filipinos who just wanted to enter their traditional fishing ground in the Bajo de Masinloc. “Hindi po tayo ang nagpo-provoke sa kanila. Ang ginagawa lang po natin… nagre-react lang tayo sa ginagawa po nila. Sila po ang nangunguna, sila po ang humaharang ng ating mangingisda, sila po ang naglagay ng barrier doon sa Scarborough (We are not provoking them. What we are doing is that... we are just reacting to their actions. They are ones provoking, they are blocking our fishermen, they put up barrier in Scarborough shoal)," Teodoro lamented. Wang on Tuesday warned the Philippines not to “provoke or stir up trouble” after the Philippine Coast Guard removed a 300-meter-long floating barrier installed by the Chinese Coast Guard in the southeast entrance of Bajo de Masinloc. The Chinese official admitted that the floating barrier is intended to "block and drive away” Filipino boats and fishermen from entering the shoal. As the PCG entered and removed the floating barrier, Wang accused the Philippines of intruding shoal “without China’s permission.” The PCG said it removed the "hazardous" barrier upon the instructions of President Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. and National Security Adviser Eduardo Año, who heads the National Task Force for the West Philippine Sea. Meanwhile, Teodoro maintained that the shoal has been a “traditional fishing ground” for Filipino fishermen over the years. "If it triggers something from China, it is just proving that it really has total disregard for maritime safety," he said, noting that Filipinos should benefit from the rich marine resources of the Philippine territory. The defense chief also noted that the Armed Forces of the Philippines has already removed the thought of provocation since disputed waters “is legally owned by the Philippines under the international law.” Padilla asked about Marcos' order to the National Security Council to "civilianize the approach" in the WPS. Teodoro said: “Kami po ay hindi tutol sa pag-uusap. Kailangan po ng diplomasya dito. Ngunit dapat sang-ayon po ito sa prinsipyadong pag-uusap (We actually support diplomatic dialogue because it is needed. But it should be in accordance with the principled conversation)—open and transparent." Teodoro underscored that the defense sector and the AFP firmly support the government’s whole-of-nation approach in confronting maritime challenges in the country. He pointed out that there’s a need to strengthen the armed forces and prepare the country for possible circumstances that would affect the country’s sovereign rights over its territorial waters. “Sa panig po natin, nakikita natin itong West Philippine Sea po ang focus. Kapag hindi po natin pinatatag ang ating sandatahang lakas baka naman po sa Philippine Rise mangyari, baka maunahan po tayo. Kaya po dapat unahan na natin (In our side, we are focusing on the West Philippine Sea. If  we don’t strengthen our armed forces, it may happen in the Philippine Rise, they might get ahead of us. That’s why we should prepare),” Teodoro stressed. The post Teodoro: Phl ‘not provoking trouble’ in Scarborough Shoal; ‘We are just reacting’ appeared first on Daily Tribune......»»

Category: newsSource:  inquirerRelated NewsSep 27th, 2023

AFP’s main challenges: Preserving, protecting Philippines territory, sovereignty

Without specifically mentioning the West Philippine Sea and the country’s current problems with China in the area, Defense Secretary Gilbert Teodoro Jr. said preserving and protecting Philippine territory and sovereignty tops the military’s main challenges for 2024......»»

Category: newsSource:  philstarRelated NewsJan 12th, 2024

Countries queue for joint Phl patrols

The Philippines is considering multilateral patrols with other nations by next year, aside from the country’s maritime cooperative activities with the United States and Australia, Armed Forces of the Philippines chief General Romeo Brawner Jr. said Monday. But even without its allies, Brawner said the Philippines will continue its unilateral maritime and air patrol in its exclusive economic zone in the West Philippine Sea amid China’s encroachment “as it is our responsibility.” “But the joint maritime and air patrols with our allies and our partners will continue, we just don’t know for now how frequent they  will be and also maybe the extent of our patrols, but we are working on that. We are constantly talking to our allies and partners,” he said. Brawner said many countries have signified an interest in conducting joint patrols with the Philippines. “They are also very much willing to conduct and to continue conducting this joint maritime and air patrols with the US in the West Philippine Sea,” he noted. “Aside from the bilateral joint exercises and joint operations that we are doing, there are also some countries who are expressing their desire to conduct this joint maritime and air patrols not just bilaterally but multilaterally,” he added. Brawner said they have yet to start the planning and preparation for the multilateral patrols. The safety of all patrol participants is a top concern, he added. The Philippines last week held joint MAC patrols with the United States and Australia, with Chinese military assets constantly shadowing the allies, whether on air or sea. The AFP chief said China’s activities during the MCAs were as expected. “I don’t think it was unusual, in fact, it happened this year, in May of this year, when US aircraft were  flying over the South China Sea and they also encountered Chinese PLA (People’s Liberation Army) aircraft circling them so this is not the first time this happened,” said Brawner. He cited the US-PLA encounter in relation to Sunday’s incident in which two Chinese fighter jets not only shadowed but encircled two Philippine Air Force turboprop Super Tucano planes. Despite the harassment of the Tucanos, Brawner described the joint Philippines and Australia patrol as a “very successful event” as the AFP was able “to achieve the set objectives” for the joint activity. For his part, Defense Chief Gilberto Teodoro Jr. confirmed the country’s possible iterations of the MCA with other nations. “All iterations are possible with friendly and allied nations, that’s within the multilateral relations that we discussed earlier,” he said. By doing so, Teodoro said, these multilateral activities are part “of the acceptance of the righteousness of our country’s position.”.....»»

Category: newsSource:  tribuneRelated NewsNov 27th, 2023

DENR joins Pag-Asa Island research expedition

A team from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources visited Pag-Asa Island on 23 October 2023, led by DENR Secretary Maria Antonia Yulo Loyzaga. The visit included a site inspection of the area surrounding Pag-Asa Island, including Sandy Cay 2, and coincided with the arrival of the M/V Panata research vessel of the University of the Philippines-Marine Science Institute for its bi-annual research expedition to the Kalayaan Island Group and the West Philippine Sea. Loyzaga is the second Cabinet-level official to visit Pag-Asa Island in recent years, and the first DENR Secretary to do so. She was joined by other DENR officials, namely, Undersecretaries Augusto Dela Pena, Analiza Rebuelta-Teh and Juan Miguel Cuna; Assistant Secretaries Gilbert Gonzales and Marcial Amaro, Jr., the respective Directors of the Environmental Management Bureau and the Biodiversity Management Bureau; and Palawan Council for Sustainable Development Executive Director Teodoro Matta. The DENR team was joined by Dr. Fernando Siringan, Dr. Jose Fernando Alcantara and Dr. Rolando Tolentino from UP-MSI. They were met on Pag-Asa Island by Vice Admiral Alberto Carlos, Commander of the Armed Forces of the Philippines Western Command, and Kalayaan Municipal Mayor Roberto Del Mundo. The DENR, UP-MSI, Palawan Council for Sustainable Development and Wescom teams discussed with Del Mundo and the Kalayaan government officials plans to expand research and monitoring in Pag-Asa Island and peripheral areas. Scientific studies have established that the marine ecosystem in the Kalayaan Island Group is a critical biodiversity area, and is crucial for the sustainable supply of fish and coral larvae in the Philippines and the region. “The discussion was on the environmental sustainability of the island and the research needed for understanding of marine environments and value of these ecosystems to livelihoods, food security in the Philippines and the region and the global need to ensure the ocean’s climate regulatory functions. Given the implications, we need to actually determine an ecological boundary rather than administrative lines,” Loyzaga explained. She and the DENR team visited the research station of UP-MSI on Pag-Asa Island, where the team is in the thick of field and oceanographic surveys as part of the periodic monitoring of the immediate environment around Pag-Asa Island. The research is partly funded by the Philippine Ocean Monitoring and Prediction System project of the national government. The group boarded the research vessel for a site inspection and docked at Sandy Cay 2, an islet just two miles off Pag-Asa Island, to check the crushed corals littered on the beach. Loyzaga and Del Mundo also discussed possible interventions for the priority needs of the municipality’s residents and the sustainable development of the island, such as the area's carrying capacity and need for water, sewerage and solid waste management systems. Pag-Asa Island serves as the hub of the municipality of Kalayaan in Palawan — the smallest in the Philippines with a population of 193, but the largest in terms of jurisdiction, with an area spanning almost 65,000 square miles. The post DENR joins Pag-Asa Island research expedition appeared first on Daily Tribune......»»

Category: newsSource:  tribuneRelated NewsOct 27th, 2023

China lodges protest against Philippine vessels trespassing Ren ai Jiao

The Chinese embassy in Manila on Monday lodged a stern protest against Philippine vessels trespassing Ren'ai Jiao on Sunday, urging the Philippines to tow away the illegally grounded warship in the South China Sea. China once again called on the Philippines to stop stirring up trouble in the sea and groundlessly attacking and slandering China, Zhou Zhiyong, Deputy Chief of Mission and Minister Counselor of the C.....»»

Category: newsSource:  manilanewsRelated NewsOct 27th, 2023

Biden prodded on joint WPS patrols

Members of the United States House of Representatives’ Foreign Affairs Committee condemned China’s “unlawful” actions in the West Philippine Sea that led to collisions of a Philippine resupply boat and its Philippine Coast Guard escort ship. House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Michael McCaul and Rep. Gregory W. Meeks (D-NY), along with Subcommittee on the Indo-Pacific Chairwoman Young Kim (R-CA) and Ranking Member Ami Bera (D-CA), issued a joint statement to express their support for the Philippines. “We unequivocally support the Philippines and condemn the unlawful actions by the Chinese Coast Guard in the South China Sea,” the US lawmakers said. “The Chinese Coast Guard and maritime militia vessels intentionally hit PCG ships over the weekend and continue to violate international law, endanger Filipino crew members, and obstruct Philippine vessels’ access to their own exclusive economic zone,” they added. The 22 October incident was “part of a larger pattern of the People’s Liberation Army Navy, its maritime militia, and the Chinese Coast Guard’s aggressive and provocative behavior in the South China Sea, where it actively intrudes in other states’ exclusive economic zones,” they said. Over the weekend, the National Task Force for the West Philippine Sea accused the CCG of performing “dangerous blocking maneuvers” that resulted in a collision with the Unaiza May 2, an indigenous boat contracted by the AFP for its routine resupply mission to the BRP Sierra Madre. During the mission, a Chinese maritime militia vessel “bumped” the PCG ship, BRP Cabra, on its port side. President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. has ordered the PCG to investigate the incident. The American legislators also backed US President Joe Biden’s announcement of increased joint patrols with the Philippines and other partners in the South China Sea and his administration’s reaffirmation to uphold its commitment under the US-Philippines Mutual Defense Treaty. Earlier this week, the White House said US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan assured Philippine National Security Advisor Eduardo Año of US support in safeguarding its sovereign rights in the WPS under the two nations’ MDT. Signed in 1951, the Philippines and the US agreed under the MDT that an armed attack on either of the parties would be considered an attack on the other, thus, joint actions may be taken by the US and the Philippines to protect each other. Meanwhile, Philippine Defense Secretary Gilberto Teodoro Jr. said the collisions would convince more countries to undertake freedom of navigation sorties with the Philippines in the WPS. “I believe it will invite more countries that have an interest in freedom of navigation to participate not only in joint patrols but in other security engagements with the Philippines,” Teodoro said. Teodoro said the Philippine government is considering many options to address China’s increasing aggression in the WPS. The post Biden prodded on joint WPS patrols appeared first on Daily Tribune......»»

Category: newsSource:  tribuneRelated NewsOct 25th, 2023

Danish envoy backs Phl’s push for rules-based order amid WPS conflict

An envoy from Denmark has expressed its support to the Philippines in promoting a rules-based order and international rule of law in light of the recent collision incident involving Beijing and Manila vessels, in Ayungin Shoal in the West Philippine Sea.  In a statement on Wednesday, Department of National Defense spokesperson Arsenio Andolong said Denmark's ambassador to the Philippines, Michael Skjold Mellbin, met with Defense chief Gilberto Teodoro Jr. to tackle the ongoing defense cooperation between the Philippines and Denmark.  Among the discussed topics was the recent incident in Ayungin shoal wherein Mellbin stressed that such events have “put the lives of Filipino sailors at risk” and “undermines regional security." Further, Mellbin has invited the the Philippine Navy and the Philippine Coast Guard for a study visit in Copenhagen, Denmark to avail of the “exchange of insights on the law of the sea.”  He said asked the PN and PCG to provide inputs on Denmark’s naval, coastal, and marine defenses, technologies, and doctrines.  Teodoro welcomed the invitation and described it as a” good opportunity in light of current defense realities” in the WPS.  Andolong said the possible cooperation between the Philippines and Denmark on cyber defense and information technology was also discussed during their meeting. Also, Teodoro and Mellbin agreed to put a premium on countering disinformation and proactively addressing threats in the information ecosystem. “The Danish ambassador acknowledged the Philippines’ support in upholding the rules-based international order, in relation to the ongoing war in Ukraine,” Andolong said.   “Both sides looked forward to concretizing Philippines-Denmark cooperation as global security challenges persist and become more unpredictable and volatile,” he added. The post Danish envoy backs Phl’s push for rules-based order amid WPS conflict appeared first on Daily Tribune......»»

Category: newsSource:  tribuneRelated NewsOct 25th, 2023

Other countries might join Phl maritime activities in WPS after Ayungin collision—DND

Defense Secretary Gilberto Teodoro Jr. believed that the recent collision incidents, involving the China Coast Guard and the Philippine resupply boats in Ayungin shoal, would attract more countries that have an interest in freedom of navigation in partnering with the Philippines in conducting maritime activities in the West Philippine Sea.   “I believe it will invite more countries who have an interest in freedom of navigation to participate not only in joint sails but in other security engagements with the Philippines,” Teodoro said in an interview with the state-run Radyo Pilipinas on Wednesday.  Teodoro said the Philippines’ engagements with other countries may include capability upgrades, intelligence exchanges, and other defense military-to-military and defense-to-defense cooperation agreements. “To include defense industries in the country,” he added.  Teodoro noted that the Philippine government is considering and calibrating many options to address China's increasing aggression in the WPS.  In a separate interview, Armed Forces of the Philippines chief Gen. Romeo Brawner Jr. confirmed the possibility that the Philippines would conduct maritime activities with other countries.  “That's a possibility. Tinitignan natin lahat ng mga (We are looking at all) options,” Brawner said, when asked about the chances that other nations may join the Philippines in its rotation and re-provisioning mission to BRP Sierra Madre in Ayungin shoal.   The military chief added that these chances also include the use of a Navy ship during the Rore mission since the BRP Sierra Madre is also a naval vessel.  But they are still studying which country could possibly join the resupply mission.  The AFP is currently contracting private boats for its re-provisioning mission to the troops stationed in the grounded Philippine Navy warship in Ayungin Shoal. Last 22 October, a CCG vessel collided with the AFP-chartered resupply ship, Unaiza May 2, after the former attempted to block the latter’s path en route to BRP Sierra Madre at about 10.5 nautical miles from Ayungin Shoal.  A separate collision occurred between BRP Cabra and a Chinese Maritime Militia vessel at about 6.4 nautical miles from Ayungin Shoal on the same day. After the incident, the Philippines and China accused each other of increasing tension in the WPS.  Both the United States and Canada condemned China for its “dangerous maneuvers” against the Philippine ships in the waters off Ayungin shoal. The post Other countries might join Phl maritime activities in WPS after Ayungin collision—DND appeared first on Daily Tribune......»»

Category: newsSource:  tribuneRelated NewsOct 25th, 2023

Japan, U.S.: ‘We got your back’

Key allies of the country expressed their unwavering support after a Chinese Coast Guard ship intentionally collided with a Philippine Navy boat to stop a resupply mission to the grounded BRP Sierra Madre on Ayungin Shoal. Defense Secretary Gilbert Teodoro Jr. described the maneuver as an escalation of China’s aggression within the exclusive economic zone of the Philippines. Japan issued a statement expressing support after the incident. “Japan expresses serious concern for actions which increase regional tensions, including a dangerous action that caused a collision between Chinese and Filipino ships on 22 October,” the Japanese Foreign Ministry said. It added that Japan believes the issue of the South China Sea is directly related to the peace and stability in the region and is a legitimate concern of the international community, including Japan. “Thus, Japan opposes any unilateral attempts to change the status quo by force as well as any actions that increase tensions in the South China Sea,” it said. Citing the Japan-Philippines Joint Statement last February, the Foreign Ministry said the “government of Japan concurs with the Philippines’ long-standing objections to unlawful maritime claims, militarization, coercive activities, and threat or use of force in the South China Sea.” “Furthermore, Japan highly appreciates the government of the Philippines for having consistently complied with the arbitral tribunal’s award as to the disputes between the Republic of the Philippines and the People’s Republic of China regarding the South China Sea, and has shown its commitment to the peaceful settlement of disputes in the (West Philippine Sea), as stated in the statement by the Foreign Minister of Japan issued on the occasion of the seventh anniversary of the issuance of the award,” it said. Japan said it would continue to cooperate with the international community, such as the members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations and the United States, to “protect free, open and peaceful seas.” ‘Ironclad’ vow The United States, meanwhile, reiterated its “ironclad” commitment to the Philippines. According to a White House statement, US National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan assured National Security Adviser Eduardo Año of US support in safeguarding its sovereign rights in the WPS under the Mutual Defense Treaty between both nations. “Sullivan reiterated US support for our Philippine allies following the PRC Coast Guard and maritime militia’s dangerous and unlawful actions on 22 October, obstructing a routine Philippine resupply mission to Second Thomas Shoal,” the statement read. “Sullivan emphasized the ironclad US commitments to the Philippines under theUS-Philippines Mutual Defense Treaty, which extends to armed attacks on Philippine public vessels, aircraft and armed forces — to include those of its Coast Guard — in the Pacific, including in the West Philippine Sea,” it added. Signed in 1951, the Philippines and the United States agreed that an armed attack in the Pacific area on either of the parties would be dangerous to its own peace and safety and declared that it would act to meet the common dangers by its constitutional processes. The White House said Sullivan and Año “reaffirmed the enduring alliance and friendship between our nations and discussed upcoming US-Philippine engagements and ways to further strengthen our close partnership.” Manila vs Beijing Both Manila and Beijing condemned the incident, which they said violated their sovereign rights over Ayungin Shoal, a low-tide elevation in the WPS. The two countries traded blame for the incident, which also sparked concern from Australia, Canada and South Korea. In 2016, the Permanent Court of Arbitration rejected Beijing’s historical nine-dash line claim to the WPS. Militia boats utilized Teodoro labeled the Chinese actions near the shoal as deliberate. “Chinese Coast Guard and maritime militia vessels, in blatant violation of international law, harassed and intentionally hit the Unaiza May 2 and Philippine Coast Guard vessel BRP Cabra,” Teodoro said. “We are here to decry in the strongest terms this egregious violation and illegal act within the Philippines’ 200-nautical-mile exclusive economic zone and the obfuscation of the truth by China’s distorting of the story to fit its own ends.” His comments came hours after President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. met with security officials and ordered the Coast Guard to investigate the incident, which was “being taken seriously at the highest levels of government,” Malacañang said. The military monitored “a large number of Chinese maritime militia vessels” swarming in the West Philippine Sea, National Security Council spokesperson, Undersecretary Jonathan Malaya, said. In a television interview, Malaya said these vessels were spotted “not only in the vicinity of Ayungin Shoal and Bajo de Masinloc but also in other features, including (Scarborough Shoal) and Sabina (Escoda) Shoal.” “We are alarmed by the environmental degradation our Coast Guard ships were able to monitor in these areas,” he told the ANC. Malaya noted that environmental degradation or coral destruction would directly impact the livelihood of the fishermen in the WPS. “Sometimes we forget the reasons why we are pushing our rights in the WPS. Some critics say this is just posturing on the part of the Philippines or a tug-of-war between China and the Philippines. No, this is not,” he stressed. “This is a battle for the resources of our country, particularly for our fishermen, so that when we monitor coral destruction in parts of the WPS, it alarms the government because it directly impacts the livelihood of our fishermen,” he said. Malaya also slammed China’s “maligned information operation” and sharing of “false narratives” in its sweeping claims on the WPS. “Definitely, there’s a maligned information operation going on nowadays that is shared to the public and we are just happy it is not just the Philippine government that is sharing our side here — we have allies, if we may call them witnesses, from the media,” he said. The post Japan, U.S.: ‘We got your back’ appeared first on Daily Tribune......»»

Category: newsSource:  tribuneRelated NewsOct 24th, 2023

NDCP alumni officials call for unity amid growing tensions in WPS

Filipinos should unite behind the nation and its government as Philippine sailors continue to experience harassment from the Chinese Coast Guard while on peaceful missions in the West Philippine Sea. This was the call of alumni officials of the National Defense College of the Philippines or NDCP, stressing that the public should remain vigilant and well-informed amid growing tensions inside the country’s territorial waters. Capt. Aldrin Cuña, the Secretary General of the NDCP Alumni Association Inc. (NDCPAAI), released the group’s statement stressing that “not only is it our right but our duty to protect it when parties launch aggressive acts to challenge our sovereignty and curb our activities over what is legally ours.” “The West Philippine Sea is of great importance to our nation, future and children - their inheritance we should not lose during our watch,” the NDCPAAI statement read. The statement was released after two Chinese Coast Guard ships rammed a Philippine Coast Guard ship and a military-run supply boat within Philippine territorial waters on Sunday, 22 October. The Chinese Coast Guard claimed that it was the Philippine ships who were the “aggressors,” but Defense Secretary Gilbert Teodoro fired back, saying “the Chinese government is deliberately obfuscating the truth.” The NDCPAAI seconded Secretary Teodoro, saying that “not only are our ships being rammed, the truth that is on our side is being pummeled too.” “The best defense against falsehood are facts which we can learn by educating ourselves about what our country’s rights are over West Philippine Sea and the legitimacy of our actions there,” the association said. However, the NDCPAAI emphasized that “diplomacy in search for principled peaceful solution is of equal importance,” but this can only be achieved if “a united citizenry is behind the government.” “We thus call on our fellow Filipinos, regardless of political affiliations, to put aside our differences and rally around our country's cause. As we maintain a credible defense posture, we must engage in constructive dialogue and nurture cordial and conflict-free peaceful solutions, guided by international law and our commitment to upholding justice and fairness,” the association said. “By pursuing these multiple tracks, we project a stance that is strong at home and supported by the people and respected abroad and recognized by the community of nations as just and right,” it stressed......»»

Category: newsSource:  tribuneRelated NewsOct 24th, 2023

Intentional, premeditated

In a prior editorial, this paper raised the possibility that the Chinese vessels hitting a Philippine Coast Guard ship and a resupply boat it was escorting to Ayungin Shoal in the West Philippine Sea might have been intentional. While we let readers read between the lines, factual narrations of the event tended to show how improbable it would have been for two separate collision incidents, involving several Chinese and Philippine vessels, to happen by accident in the wide expanse of ocean. The two collisions happened miles away from each other amid fair weather conditions with the sun shining brightly, thus neither poor visibility nor questionable seamanship could have been a factor in the incidents. As in most cases, the simplest explanations often prove to be the correct or accurate ones. In these incidents, the latest in China’s aggressive maneuvers in the WPS, the actions taken by the Chinese coast guard and militia vessels smacked of premeditation. On Monday, Defense Secretary Gilbert Teodoro confirmed in a press briefing that the Chinese vessels “intentionally” hit the Philippine boats trying to resupply troops stationed on the intentionally grounded navy vessel, the BRP Sierra Madre. “While conducting legitimate rotation and resupply operations within the exclusive economic zone of the Philippines, Chinese coast guard and maritime militia vessels, in blatant violation of international law, harassed and intentionally hit the Unaiza May 2 and Philippine Coast Guard vessel BRP Cabra,” Teodoro said. It was a conclusion that would not have required the title Defense Secretary to make. Video footage and photos of the first incident showed a China Coast Guard ship chasing the very small resupply boat. As if the David-versus-Goliath affair were not enough, a second CCG vessel then cut off the boat. All the pieces of evidence considered, the word “collision” does not apply to the actions China took because this would presuppose the possibility of their being mere accidents. The operative word should be “bumped” or, if the incident resulted in grave damage to the Philippine vessels, “rammed.” The stern of the smaller resupply vessel and the bow of the Chinese coast guard ship were seen briefly touching in the video released by the Philippine military. According to a statement from the National Security Council, the supply boat sustained damage. It added that a second resupply boat was able to complete its mission to the BRP Sierra Madre. With the United States and Canada condemning China over the incident, the collision may not be the last or it may just be a portent of more serious “interactions” to come between China and the Philippines as both assert their respective sovereign claims in the WPS. If only to ensure peace in the Indo-Pacific region, countries that have pledged to conduct freedom of navigation patrols in the South China Sea should start doing so. The burden of checking Beijing’s expansionist designs in the region should be shared not only by other claimant nations, but by governments that benefit from the trillions of dollars in trade that pass annually through the South China Sea. We cannot expect the Philippines’ summoning of the Chinese ambassador over the incidents to amount to anything, except to register the country’s strong and continuing opposition to Beijing’s aggressive acts in the WPS. China can never claim Ayungin to be part of its sovereign waters because it lies 1,000 kilometers from its nearest major landmass, Hainan Island, while the shoal is only 200 kilometers from the western Philippine island of Palawan. This proximity of Ayungin Shoal to Palawan, along with other proof presented by the Philippines to the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague, was primarily considered by the court in ruling in favor of the Philippines in 2016. China had refused to recognize the arbitral ruling precisely because it did not go its way. In fact, the court declared as baseless China’s nine-dash line claim to nearly the entire South China Sea. CCG’s ramming of Philippine vessels is a calculated act of provocation. It is a message to the Philippines and the rest of the world that China is willing to use force to achieve its goals. Beijing’s actions are a threat to peace and stability in the South China Sea and the Asia-Pacific region. Nations must not allow China to succeed in its bullying tactics. The international community must take a stand and not allow China to undermine the rules-based order in the Asia-Pacific. The aggression being shown by Chinese maritime assets is a threat to the world, and must be stopped. The post Intentional, premeditated appeared first on Daily Tribune......»»

Category: newsSource:  tribuneRelated NewsOct 23rd, 2023

Attack on Phl would elicit U.S. response — State Dep’t

The United States warned on Monday that any armed attack on Philippine armed forces and Philippine Coast Guard civilian vessels could trigger its 72-year-old Mutual Defense Treaty with the Philippines. “The United States reaffirms that Article IV of the 1951 US-Philippines Mutual Defense Treaty extends to armed attacks on Philippine armed forces, public vessels, and aircraft — including those of its Coast Guard — anywhere in the South China Sea,” the US Department of State said in a statement. The statement came a day after a China Coast Guard ship collided with a Philippine resupply vessel that was conducting a routine resupply mission at Ayungin Shoal. During the same resupply mission, a Chinese maritime militia vessel also bumped the BRP Cabra, one of the PCG ships that were escorting the boat contracted by the AFP. Defense Secretary Gilbert Teodoro Jr. said the collisions, which President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. ordered investigated by the PCG, were “intentional.” For its part, the Philippines’ Department of Foreign Affairs said further study is needed to invoke the MDT due to the incident. “The matter of filing another case is something that is still being studied by the government. But, of course, all incidents like these will actually bolster the case that it is not the Philippines that is the aggressor but the other party, which is China,” DFA spokesperson Teresita Daza said. “It’s a provocation on the side of China but at this point, whether it will constitute an armed attack that would allow the invoking of the MDT is something that needs to be studied,” she added. The Philippines and the US agreed under the MDT, signed in 1951, that an armed attack on either of the parties would be considered an attack on the other, necessitating common or joint actions.   Ambassador summoned The Philippines on Monday summoned China’s Ambassador to the Philippines, Huang Xilian, to explain the “blocking maneuvers” conducted by its vessels. China has insisted on its territorial rights over the Ayungin Shoal, also known as Second Thomas Shoal, which is in the Philippines’ exclusive economic zone. Swarms of CCG ships and Chinese maritime militia vessels had been monitored in the WPS, which Philippine officials said was a blatant disrespect of the 2016 Arbitral Award on the South China Sea. In July 2016, the Philippines won the arbitral case it lodged against China in the Permanent Court of Arbitration. The US said it stands with the Philippines in the face of China’s “dangerous and unlawful actions obstructing” a 22 October resupply mission to Second Thomas Shoal in the South China Sea. “By conducting dangerous maneuvers that caused collisions with Philippine resupply and Coast Guard ships, the PRC Coast Guard and maritime militia violated international law by intentionally interfering with the Philippine vessels’ exercise of high seas freedom of navigation,” the US State Department said. “The PRC’s (People’s Republic of China) conduct jeopardized the Filipino crew members’ safety and impeded critically needed supplies from reaching service members stationed on the BRP Sierra Madre. Obstructing supply lines to this longstanding outpost and interfering with lawful Philippine maritime operations undermines regional stability,” it added. Citing the 2016 arbitral ruling on the South China Sea, the US noted that China’s territorial claims to Ayungin Shoal, a low-tide elevation outside the territorial sea of another high tide feature, were unfounded.   Unsafe moves “The unsafe maneuvers on 22 October and the PRC water cannoning of a Philippine vessel on 5 August are the latest examples of provocative PRC measures in the South China Sea to enforce its expansive and unlawful maritime claims, reflecting disregard for other states lawfully operating in the region,” the State Department stressed. Aside from the US, Japan, France, Canada, Australia and Germany also condemned China’s aggressive actions in the West Philippine Sea. In a separate statement, Canada condemned what it described as “unlawful and dangerous conduct” of the People’s Republic of China in the WPS, which “provoked two collisions with Philippine vessels engaged in routine operations inside the Philippine exclusive economic zone, in the vicinity of Ayungin Shoal.” “The PRC’s actions are unjustified. China has no lawful claim to the West Philippine Sea. Its actions are incompatible with the obligations of a signatory to the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea,” the Canadian Embassy in Manila said. “Continuing acts of intimidation and coercion undermine safety, stability, and security across the region, and increase the risk of miscalculation,” it added.   France, Japan, Germany, too France expressed its “deep concern” over the dangerous maneuvers of the CCG against Philippine vessels “engaged in the Philippine exclusive economic zone.” “France calls for respect of the freedom of navigation guaranteed by international law and recalls its attachment to the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea and the decision rendered by the Arbitral Court on 12 July 2016,” the Embassy of France to the Philippines said. Japan, likewise, stressed that it was “seriously concerned” and “alarmed” about the collision of Chinese vessels with Philippine vessels. “Seriously concerned about and alarmed by the collision between Chinese and Philippines vessels,” Japanese Ambassador to the Philippines Koshikawa Kazuhiko said in a tweet. Koshikawa said Japan “strongly opposes any unilateral attempts to change the status quo by force or coercion.” “Germany is very concerned about recent confrontations in the SCS involving Chinese coast guard ships and maritime militia vessels in the exclusive economic zone of the Philippines,” German Ambassador to the Philippines Andreas Pfaffernoschke said in a separate tweet. The post Attack on Phl would elicit U.S. response — State Dep’t appeared first on Daily Tribune......»»

Category: newsSource:  tribuneRelated NewsOct 23rd, 2023

Phl says summoned Chinese envoy over collisions in disputed waters

Manila summoned Beijing's ambassador on Monday over two collisions between Philippine and Chinese vessels in the disputed South China Sea, a foreign ministry official said. "We're making full use of diplomatic processes... available to us. That includes summoning the Chinese ambassador, which we did this morning," foreign ministry spokeswoman Teresita Daza told reporters. The Philippines and China have traded blame over Sunday's incidents near Second Thomas Shoal in the Spratly Islands. The two collisions happened during a routine Philippine resupply mission to Filipino troops stationed on a crumbling navy vessel grounded on the shoal to assert Manila's territorial claims. A Philippine government task force said Sunday the "dangerous blocking manoeuvers of China Coast Guard vessel 5203 caused it to collide with the Armed Forces of the Philippines-contracted indigenous resupply boat" about 25 kilometers (15 miles) from the shoal. China said the "slight collision" happened after the resupply boat ignored "multiple warnings and deliberately passed through law enforcement in an unprofessional and dangerous manner", state broadcaster CCTV reported Sunday, citing the foreign ministry. In another incident, a Philippine coastguard vessel escorting the routine resupply mission was "bumped" by what the Philippine task force described as a "Chinese Maritime Militia vessel". China, however, accused the Philippine boat of "deliberately" stirring up trouble by reversing in a "premeditated manner" into a Chinese fishing vessel. The post Phl says summoned Chinese envoy over collisions in disputed waters appeared first on Daily Tribune......»»

Category: newsSource:  tribuneRelated NewsOct 23rd, 2023

Teodoro: China a squatter in WPS  

Defense Secretary Gilbert Teodoro yesterday accused China of being a “squatter” in the West Philippine Sea, citing Chinese presence within the Philippines’ 200-mile exclusive economic zone......»»

Category: newsSource:  philstarRelated NewsOct 18th, 2023

Sovereign interest

The Philippines is earning plaudits for the Marcos administration’s tough balancing act of asserting its territorial claim on the West Philippine Sea while preventing the tense situation with China from escalating. President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. has made it his policy to improve relations with the United States that were strained under the last administration, while continuing to engage with China but recognizing the need to respect each country’s position. Sydney-based think tank Lowy Institute cited recent moves by the country that showed it will not back down from China’s assertiveness, but neither will it take actions to provoke its anger. “While Beijing attempts to tighten its grip on the region with a new ten-dash line, a multi-billion dollar military modernization drive is underway in the Philippines,” a Lowy report said. It said many analysts believe that Manila’s pronouncements about confrontation are “gestures” rather than real attempts to challenge China. An open conflict would have tremendous geopolitical and economic costs for the Philippines. “Beijing remains Manila’s top trade partner and import supplier,” Lowy said. It cited instances in which the Philippines stepped back from adding fuel to the fire. “The Philippines’ decision to skip last month’s joint military exercise with the United States, Australia and Japan in the South China Sea is seen as a way of avoiding conflict with China,” it noted. It said that Defense Secretary Gilbert Teodoro had refused to cooperate with Taiwan on security issues, which has been viewed as the country’s continued adherence to the One-China policy. “Despite his harsh remarks on Beijing, some Chinese international relations experts are optimistic about the appointment of Teodoro Locsin as Manila’s Special Envoy to China as he has not only favored cooperation with Beijing but has been critical of the West,” it added. Lowy said Locsin’s appointment is read as Manila’s attempt to stabilize ties with Beijing, adding that “others are disappointed with the choice.” This recognition from independent observers indicates the Marcos administration is skillfully threading a thin line to show it is insisting on its sovereign stake while pushing back against Beijing. Manila’s resupply mission to the BRP Sierra Madre landing craft, for instance, which is considered the eye of the storm in the current friction, has been a pure play by Philippine forces. Manila’s supply and coast guard ships are constantly in a game of tag with huge Chinese Coast Guard vessels which try to frustrate the provision of supplies to the platoon of Marines guarding the outpost. Last month, China’s coast guard water-cannoned a Navy supply boat. Beijing’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs justified this as “safeguarding our sovereignty in accordance with law” and criticized Manila for “ignoring China’s goodwill and sincerity.” China then demanded the Philippines remove the beached Sierra Madre. Lowy reported that “Manila has further aggravated Beijing by describing the danger of conflict in the Taiwan Strait as a ‘major security concern,’ in its newly published National Security Policy.” It quoted various state mouthpieces in China as having criticized former Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte’s condemnation of the ten-dash line and his claim that Manila “wouldn’t resist a fight” for its maritime rights. China has always referred to the Duterte period as when an ideal engagement had existed with the Philippines. Duterte initially exerted efforts to win the trust of the Chinese but had always indicated to President Xi Jinping that he would have to raise at some point the decision of the Permanent Court of Arbitration that favored the Philippines. China continues to follow its playbook that the Philippines is being manipulated by the US to take bold actions in the West Philippine Sea conflict. Beijing glosses over the fact that when the late President Noynoy Aquino bungled the handling of the 2012 faceoff with China, it was the US that abandoned the Philippines as it did nothing to stop the reclamation of features in the disputed area. Similarly, China has advocated dialogue but, thus far, nothing has come of it, even after the Philippines  gave way to its wishes over the past six and more years. The post Sovereign interest appeared first on Daily Tribune......»»

Category: lifestyleSource:  abscbnRelated NewsOct 2nd, 2023

AFP to redesign reserve force to complement regular force

Defense Secretary Gilberto Teodoro Jr. said there’s an ongoing redesign of the reserve force paradigm of the Armed Forces of the Philippines to “fit in the current security situation” confronted by the country. Teodoro made the statement during the culmination of the National Reservist Week held at the AFP General Headquarters in Camp Aguinaldo, Quezon City on Saturday, 30 September. The defense chief cited the calibration should be based on what the country needs to further improve its credible deterrent posture and the ability to protect its interests, “not only on the ground but particularly in the maritime domain.” “In doing so, this time, we have to rethink our reservists' paradigms. And so we are in the process of redesigning the reserve force based on the leads of the time and not based on an old-dated paradigm…that may not be valid anymore,” he added. Teodoro has ordered the “designing of future reserve force” that should complement the regular force of AFP and ensure service continuity, in which civilian parallels business service continuity “so that there’s a subdivision of functions.” The redesigning, he said, also includes effectively tapping of reserve force’s various human skills and building up land military civil defense units within communities. “This is to secure our communities through the benefits of the laws of war that they may not be combatants’ end-targets for hostile actions,” he added. Teodoro said he already tasked the Office of the Civil Defense to merge and synergize the development of the civil defense units which will be based in the communities, municipalities and provinces. These CDUs will manage local disaster risk reduction systems, provide security, and enhance first responders' capabilities in communities, in cooperation with military forces as well as the inclusion of the reserve forces. “We encourage our reservists to help in formulating plans for our strategic development in the future as this is a collaborative effort,” he added. Meanwhile, AFP Chief Gen Romeo Brawner Jr. said the military organization is open to the redesigning reserve force paradigm. “Well, we welcome that. Because we saw that the problems we are confronting now in our country are really different from the previous problems we faced before—this time, we are facing more challenges that are global in nature,” he said in a media interview. Brawner pointed out that the AFP is not only focusing on improving the reserve force organization but also working on the enhancement of the military’s regular force. “We wanted to develop our total force. That means the reserve force and regular force are not separated from each other. We are one Armed Forces of the Philippines, if ever that emergency or any threat comes to our country…reserve forces, even the citizens of our country should get together, and work together for the defense of our country and for the promotion of our national interest,” he said. This effort would help the entire country in addressing emerging security threats, whether internal or external, he added. Further, Brawner confirmed the AFP still plans to tap fishermen in the West Philippine Sea to become part of the military reserve force. “Yes. In fact, many fisherfolk have already expressed willingness to help us. It doesn’t mean that have to fight because they were in the area. That’s not the concept,” he said. “But they can help us in terms of gathering information and making sure that we have a presence in those areas so we can say that those areas are ours,” he added. Earlier, AFP Western Command Chief Vice Adm. Alberto Carlos the military is exerting key efforts to further improve the country’s presence in its territorial waters. Carlos said AFP is eyeing to increase Filipino boats and fishermen in the country’s exclusive economic zone in WPS. “We have ongoing efforts to convince our Filipino fishermen to fish in the WPS para ma-exercise natin ‘yung atin (so we can exercise our) sovereign rights to fish,” he said. Carlos said among these efforts include the effective control of all islands now occupied by the Philippines in the WPS, establishing a stronger naval presence, and enhancing maritime domain awareness in these areas. The AFP previously reported more than 400 foreign vessels are swarming in the features of WPS, including the massive destruction of corals in Rozul Reef and Escoda Shoal after the resurgence of foreign ships in the area. The post AFP to redesign reserve force to complement regular force appeared first on Daily Tribune......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsOct 1st, 2023

Doing right

Plucky 54-year-old Filipino fisherman Arnel Satam best characterizes where we should be following last week’s significant incidents at a disputed atoll variously called Scarborough Shoal, Bajo de Masinloc and Panatag Shoal. Bucking a tense standoff between Filipino and Chinese government vessels at the shoal’s southeast last 22 September, Satam, aboard a tiny wooden light blue “bangka” (outrigger boat), sped towards the shallow, fish-rich waters of the atoll’s inner lagoon. He just wanted to fish. Responding speedboat-riding Chinese coast guardsmen hotly pursued Satam for several thrilling minutes before Satam willingly turned back. But Satam, whose daring act was caught on video, had already made his indelible mark in one of the tensest areas in the South China Sea. “Hindi ako natatakot (I wasn’t scared),” said Satam, who told reporters he often baits the Chinese to chase him. “Pinagtatawan-tawanan ko lang sila. Inaasar ko lang sila eh (I just laugh at them. I only pique them).” Earlier that same Friday, the China Coast Guard was caught in the act of installing a 300-meter floating barrier around Panatag’s inner lagoon by a Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources boat on routine patrol. Like Satam, Filipino coast guard divers the following Monday afternoon did the unthinkable, vividly executing a first-ever underwater operation, also dramatically captured on video, against Chinese bullying in the West Philippine Sea. Using only knives, the divers cut the rope connecting the buoys that held up the barrier and hauled up an anchor holding the floating barrier in place. Filipino fishermen said the Chinese frequently put up barriers to keep them from Panatag, a traditional rich fishing ground of fishermen mostly sailing out of Zambales. Some 50 Filipino fishing boats, in fact, were near the shoal when the Chinese installed the floating barrier. Filipino fishermen could only fish outside the shoal because Chinese vessels had blocked the inner lagoon since the 2012 standoff between the Philippines and China over the shoal. After the successful “special operation,” authorized by President Marcos himself, the PCG reported that China Coast Guard vessels, probably awed by the Filipinos’ audacity, were seen calmly picking up pieces of the torn barrier. Still, that same calm demeanor could also mean the Chinese “might still return the floating barrier,” said PCG spokesperson Jay Tarriela, particularly since last Tuesday China tersely warned the Philippines not “to provoke and cause trouble.” But the PCG and the military establishment have vowed to make the Filipino presence felt at the shoal, even permanently, with Tarriela expressly saying, “We have shown the world the Filipino people will not back down, and we’re still going to consistently carry out whatever is necessary for us to maintain our presence.” Emphasizing our “presence” at Panatag is a crucial and careful distinction. The 2016 arbitral award ruled that Chinese, Vietnamese, and Filipino fishermen had traditional fishing rights at Panatag Shoal. Our maritime authorities, therefore, are in the right insofar as asserting that Filipino fishermen have the same rights as the Chinese to safely navigate around Panatag to fish, and that China has no right whatsoever to drive them away or bar them. Frustratingly, however, some imprudent Filipinos toe China’s self-interested and false sovereignty claims despite the due care with which Filipino maritime authorities qualify their actions. Oddly enough, too, these same imprudent Filipinos quickly blame the victims of China’s abusive actions. It is as if these imprudent Filipinos are so invested in their fear of China that they are now losing their willingness to defend Filipino fishermen and their livelihood bit by bit, without even noticing. We cannot be like them. We must all finally realize that to assert ourselves in the world; we must bravely stand up to any form of bullying against fellow Filipinos. We individually need to be an Arnel Satam. The post Doing right appeared first on Daily Tribune......»»

Category: newsSource:  tribuneRelated NewsSep 30th, 2023

Removal of Chinese barrier in WPS necessary — PBBM

President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. on Friday defended the removal of a Chinese floating barrier in the West Philippine Sea, saying that it was necessary to protect the country's fishermen and maritime territory. In an interview with reporters in Siargao, Marcos said that the barrier was inside Philippine territory, preventing fishermen from accessing their traditional fishing grounds. "I don't see what else we could do because those fishermen, when the rope was cut, the fishermen who entered on that day caught 164 tons of fish, just in one day. That's what our fishermen are losing. So, it's not right to put up a barrier like that, and it's clearly inside the Philippines," Marcos said. "We're not looking for trouble. We're just going to continue to defend the Philippines, the maritime territory of the Philippines, and the rights of our fishermen who have been fishing in those areas for hundreds of years," Marcos added. He added that he did not understand why China had installed the barrier, but that the Philippines was "avoiding conflict" and "heated words." "We are steadfast in defending the territory of the Philippines," Marcos said. In recent months, China's actions in the West Philippine Sea have been marked by an increasing level of aggression, asserting control over nearly the entire South China Sea. China has also disregarded the 2016 arbitral ruling that upheld the Philippines' exclusive economic zone and rejected China's historical claims. Last week, Chinese Coast Guard ships placed a barrier made of ropes and nets, supported by buoys, when a Philippine government fisheries vessel was approaching, and over 50 Philippine fishing boats gathered around the shoal, as reported by the Philippine Coast Guard. Executive Secretary Lucas Bersamin said earlier this week that the Philippines might submit a new protest to a tribunal after the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) uncovered damaged coral reefs in a region of the West Philippine Sea frequently visited by Chinese militia vessels. In an interview with Anthony Taberna, Bersamin affirmed that China knew the Philippines' preference for a multilateral approach in its foreign relations. The executive secretary verified that the President issued the directive to eliminate the floating barriers. "When such orders are given, they come directly from the President after consulting with officials involved in the matter. We cannot disclose the details of how it was done. Still, a decision-making process was established, and they convened to decide to go there," Bersamin said. The post Removal of Chinese barrier in WPS necessary — PBBM appeared first on Daily Tribune......»»

Category: sportsSource:  abscbnRelated NewsSep 29th, 2023