“China is claiming it, we are claiming it. China has the arms. We do not have it. So, it’s simple as that. They are in possession of the property. Unless we are ready to go to war. Inutil ako diyan. Wala akong magawa.” — Pres. Rodrigo Duterte, Republic of the Philippines
A fishers’ group is up in arms over reports of another collision incident involving a Chinese vessel that led to the disappearance of 14 Filipino fishermen off the coast of Occidental Mindoro Sunday, June 28.
“We strongly condemn this collision incident in our territorial waters involving our Filipino fishermen and a Chinese vessel. We call on the authorities to expedite the search and rescue operations for the missing fishing crew and, as much as possible, must be returned to their families safe,” the Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (PAMALAKAYA) in a statement this morning said.
The group also demanded that the Hong Kong-registered cargo ship Vina Moon be held accountable for endangering the lives of the missing fisher folk.
Other reports however said the name of the Chinese ship is MV Vienna Wood.
The Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) said the 14 crew members of the local fishing boat Liberty Cinco, including two employees of the Irma Fishing Corporation, owners of the vessel, remain missing.
The PCG also reported that the capsized Liberty Cinco, with a badly-damaged hull, was found off the coast of Cape Calavite in Mindoro Island but the crew are nowhere to be found.
It was not indicated whether the Vienna Wood/Vina Moon has reported the incident to the coast guard after it happened.
The Chinese crew professed ignorance of the incident when questioned by authorities, the PCG reportedly said in interviews by the media.
PCG however said the Chinese vessel also sustained damages on its prow, indicating it rammed the capsized local fishing boat.
In a statement, PAMALAKAYA National Chairperson Fernando Hicap likened the recent incident to the ramming and sinking of the F/B Gem-Ver1 by a Chinese vessel that endangered the lives of 22 fishermen in Recto Bank last year.
Hicap said it is the very same month last year that another Chinese vessel almost killed 22 Filipino fisher folk in a hit-and-run incident at Recto Bank, an underwater reef formation in the West Philippine Sea that is internationally-recognized as part of the exclusive economic territory of the Philippines.
Hicap lamented that the 22 fishermen who hail from San Jose, Occidental Mindoro have yet to be fully compensated by the Chinese vessel Yuemaobinyu 42212 that hit and abandoned them last year.
“One year of no justice and yet another tragic incident happened,” PAMALAKAYA said.
“We do not want a repeat of the injustice against our fisher folk. The owner and captain of the the Chinese ship must be held into account for ramming them and for their violation of the rights of our Filipino fisher folk in our own seas,” the group added. # (Raymund B. Villanueva)
by IBON Media
Research group IBON said that Pres. Rodrigo Duterte’s stance on the West Philippine Sea (WPS) issue, as expressed in his fourth State of the Nation Address (SONA), is not about avoiding war with China, but is about avoiding offending the Chinese government and losing all its promised funds.
Last July 22, Pres. Duterte highlighted the possibility of China attacking the country if the government took a strong stance on its claims in the disputed WPS.
According to the president, “more and better results can be reached in the privacy of a conference room than in a squabble in public”.
IBON, however, said that the administration is only using the possibility of war to conceal the agreements reached “in the privacy of a conference room” between the Philippine and Chinese governments which seem to be at the expense of the Filipino people’s interests.
IBON noted that while other claimants to the disputed area, like Vietnam and Indonesia, are taking a more aggressive stance to defend their claims, China has yet to declare war against these two countries.
The group said that the administration should see this as an opportunity to foster unity between the Philippines and its other neighbors to defend their respective claims against China.
But the government is not doing this, nor is it asserting the July 2016 ruling of the international tribunal, the Permanent Court of Arbitration, that was in favor of the Philippines.
The decision upheld the country’s rights over the 200-nautical miles exclusive economic zone (EEZ) under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).
The President instead has claimed to be proud of his friendship with China, IBON said.
Rather than defend his fellowmen, he has insulted Filipino fishermen by implying that they should be thankful that Chinese Pres. Xi Jin Ping allowed them to fish in the WPS.
He also reduced the ramming and sinking of the Filipino fishing boat Gem-Ver 1 by a Chinese ship in June to “a mere incident”.
IBON said that the reason for the Duterte administration being overly accommodating is most likely due to its desire for Chinese financing.
IBON estimates that the government is seeking as much as Php673.2 billion from China for its 75 flagship projects aside from Php204.7 billion more for infrastructure and other projects – for a total of Php877.9 billion.
According to the group, the terms of the loan agreements that the administration enters into with China for its infrastructure drive are onerous.
These include only using China’s goods and services, including for payment of Chinese contractors and even hiring of Chinese workers; stringent loan payment schedules; contracts being explicitly governed and construed in accordance with the laws of China and disputes having to be settled in the courts of China; and the Philippines waiving its sovereign rights over its patrimonial assets in connection with any arbitration proceeding.
The last is synonymous with the collateralization of the country’s assets, like natural and strategic resources.
IBON said that instead of being concerned with stepping on China’s toes and losing financing, the Duterte administration should implement a truly independent foreign policy.
Such a policy should defend and uphold Philippine sovereignty, ensure domestic development, and prioritize the welfare of all Filipinos, said the group. #
These are additional shots of the United People’s SONA last Monday, July 22, on Commonwealth Avenue, Quezon City.
They show the burning of President Rodrigo Duterte’s effigy as a merman (siyokoy) while members of the Concerned Artists of the Philippines perform their song “Atin ang ‘Pinas”.
Reaksyon ng mamamayan hinggil sa insidente sa Recto Bank kung saan binangga ng isang barkong Tsino ang bangkang Filipino at saka iniwan na lamang ang 22 mangingisda. (Bidyo ni Jomaline D. Mamangun)
Activists held a protest action in Quezon City last June 19 and asked motorists to honk their vehicle horns to show solidarity with 22 fishermen whose boat was rammed by a Chinese ship and President Rodrigo Duterte’s obvious pro-China stance in the controversy.
In his speech during the rally, former Bayan Muna representative Neri Colmenares asked Duterte to side with the Filipino victims, adding the Philippines’ victory in the international tribunal gives the country a strong foundation to assert its rights over Recto Bank.
Noong Hunyo 12, Araw ng Kalayaan, tinanong ng Kodao kung natupad nga ba ni Presidente Rodrigo Duterte ang ipinangako niyang Independent Foreign Policy.
Panoorin ang sagot ng mga dumalo sa rali sa mga konsulada ng Estados Unidos at Tsina.
Isang kilos-protesta sa Araw ng Kagitingan ang isinagawa ng iba’t-ibang grupo sa pangunguna ng Pilipinong Nagkakaisa para sa Soberanya o P1NAS sa Konsulado ng Tsinasa Makati City ngayong araw, Abril 9.
Nananawagan sila na itigil ng China ang panghihimasok nito sa teritoryo ng bansa kabilang na ang mga isla sa West Philippine Sea (WPS).
Ayon sa P1NAS, sa kabila ng panalo ng bansa sa International Tribunal ay patuloy pa rin ang pag-okupa ng China at pag-angkin sa ilang isla sa WPS.
Binatikos ng P1NAS ang administrasyong Duterte at nagbabala sa posibleng pagkabaon sa utang ng bansa kapag nagpatuloy pa ang pag-utang nito sa China para sa mga proyekto tulad ng Kaliwa Dam Project at iba pang kwestiyonableng kasunduan. (Bidyo ni: Joseph Cuevas/ Kodao)
Former ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales and former foreign affairs secretary Albert del Rosario filed a complaint against Chinese President Xi Jinping before the International Criminal Court (ICC) to “check impunity” in the disputed South China Sea. Morales said they want to send a clear message to Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte administration and to all Filipinos. “We demand accountability from those who destroy marine areas, and we want to check impunity as a deterrent to progress,” she said.
Various groups held a mass action at the Chinese consulate in Makati City last Tuesday (November 20) to denounce the visit of Chinese President Xi Jinping as they expressed outrage against the Rodrigo Duterte government for its subservience to the Chinese government.
The Pilipinong Nagkakaisa Para sa Soberanya o P1NAS called Duterte a traitor to the Pilipino people as it pointed out that his government is virtually surrendering Philippine territory in the West Philippine Sea to China.
Even after losing in an international tribunal that determined the disputed areas are part of the Philippine exclusive economic zone three years ago, China refuses to recognize the decision proceeded to militarize some islands.
China’s presence in the area includes so-called “ joint development” schemes with the Duterte government seen as a weakening of the Philippine claims.
In the said rally, Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (BAYAN) expressed concern that Duterte’s economic deals with China may push the Philippines under deeper debt.
In his visit to the Philippines, Xi took home 29 agreements, including an understanding on joint oil exploration in the West Philippine Sea and the construction of mega dams, including the Chico River Pump Irrigation, the New Centennial Water Source Kaliwa Project, and the Agus-Pulangi Mega Dam project.
Indigenous peoples earlier raised fears that the China-ODA projects will cause their displacement from their lands and livelihood.
“Pawning our lands to an imperialist country like China is a serious crime that may lead to ethnocide,” Kalipunan ng Katutubong Mamamayan ng Pilipinas said. # (Joseph Cuevas)