(CNN) Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, October 22) — Several lawmakers on Sunday condemned China’s latest blocking maneuvers against Philippine vessels en route to BRP Sierra Madre, which ended in collisions off Ayungin Shoal.
In a statement, Senator Risa Hontiveros stressed that the China Coast Guard (CCG) was at fault in the recent incident as the Philippine Coast Guard “has every right to be in the West Philippine Sea.”
“China, tama na [enough is enough]. This latest collision is squarely the China Coast Guard’s fault,” Hontiveros said.
“Walang karapatan ang Tsina na itaboy ang ating mga tropa sa ating karagatan. At mas lalong wala silang karapatan na saktan at banggain ang Pilipinong barkong tanging gumagawa lang ng kanyang trabaho sa sarili nating teritoryo,” she added.
[Translation: China has no right to drive our troops out of our seas. More so, they have no right to hurt and run into a Filipino ship that is only doing its work in its own territory.]
Hontiveros further called on the international community to condemn “China’s most recent violence against the Filipino people.”
Senator Francis Tolentino, meanwhile, said the recent event demonstrated China’s contempt for international law and basic maritime safety, as he called for a thorough international investigation.
“Ang naturang insidente ay dapat mapasailalim sa isang masusing imbestigasyon sa ilalim ng International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) at ng Code for Investigation ng Marine Casualties and Incidents ng International Maritime Organization,” Tolentino said.
[Translation: Such an incident should be subject to a thorough investigation under the International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS) and the Code for Investigation of Marine Casualties and Incidents of the International Maritime Organization.]
ACT Teachers Partylist Rep. France Castro urged for “decisive action” from the administration of President Ferdinand Marcos Jr., such as re-filing a case against China or pushing for a United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) resolution on its actions in the West Philippine Sea.
“Marapat na paspasan ang pag-develop sa Pag-Asa Island at pagtatayo din ng mga permanent structures sa WPS para sa 24/7 na territorial security patrol, at magagamit pang pahingahan ng mga mangingisdang Filipino,” Castro said.
[Translation: We need to speed up the development of Pag-Asa Island and construction of permanent structures in the WPS for 24/7 territorial security patrols and to serve as resting areas for Filipino fishermen.]
Senator Jinggoy Estrada said Beijing’s recent actions not only violate maritime norms and international law but also pose a threat to the safety and security of the region. He urged the government to carefully consider its next steps against China.
“This is a violation of our sovereign rights and an assault on our maritime personnel; it is completely unacceptable. Will a mere diplomatic protest still suffice?” Estrada said.
Senate President Juan Miguel Zubiri called on the CCG to respect human lives and abide by the UNCLOS and other international laws.
Zubiri commended the PCG and the Armed Forces of the Philippines for displaying courage and restraint in their resupply missions despite the “hostile and treacherous acts” of the CCG.
“As leader of the Senate, I will make sure that our troops will get sufficient funds under the 2024 national budget to bankroll the much-needed upgrade of their equipment,” he stressed.
Chinese ships collided with Filipino vessels on a resupply mission to BRP Sierra Madre on Ayungin Shoal on Sunday morning.
China claimed that the Filipino vessels were “illegally carrying construction materials” and that the action of the China Coast Guard was “reasonable, lawful, and professional.”
The AFP earlier said that whatever the country does on the BRP Sierra Madre, its military outpost at Ayungin Shoal, is none of China’s business and will not be a threat to any other nation.