2 House reps urge President Marcos to take more decisive steps against China

Cagayan de Oro Rep. Rufus Rodriguez and Rep. Arlene Brosas of the Gabriela party-list made the same call in separate statements issued on Aug 7, 2023.

Gabriel Pabico Lalu

Gabriel Pabico Lalu

Philippine Daily Inquirer


A China Coast Guard ship preparing to strike a Philippine Coast Guard vessel with a water cannon as it is on its way to Ayungin Shoal on Aug 5, 2023. PHOTO: FACEBOOK/PHILIPPINE DAILY INQUIRER

August 8, 2023

MANILA — President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. should take more decisive steps against China after its coast guard fired water cannons at Philippine vessels in the West Philippine Sea.

Cagayan de Oro Rep. Rufus Rodriguez and Rep. Arlene Brosas of the Gabriela party-list made the same call in separate statements issued on Monday.

“I ask the President to downgrade our embassy in Beijing to show our deep indignation, anger and protest over the water cannon blast by the Chinese Coast Guard on our personnel,” Rodriguez said.

“The President should also order our unusually quiet and inactive ambassador there to return to Manila and to replace him with a lower-level diplomatic officer.”

The Chinese coast guard fired water cannons at two ships — one from the Philippine Coast Guard and one from the Navy — last Saturday, Aug. 5. The ships were bound on a resupply mission for Filipino troops aboard the BRP Sierra Madre, which had been deliberately sunk at the Ayungin Shoal to served as a Philippine military outpost in the West Philippine Sea.

The Chinese coast guard blocked and fired water cannons at the Filipino ships, which were not able to continue with their mission.

China had been claiming the entire West Philippine Sea as part of its so-called nine-dash line. But in 2016, the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague ruled on a case filed by the Aquino administration against China. The court said the nine-dash line had no historical or legal basis and that the Philippines should enjoy sovereign rights over its exclusive economic zone.

Marcos should now show his resolve in addressing the latest incident, which is a violation of those rights, Rodriguez said.

“We cannot allow these harassment and bullying tactics and encroachment on our maritime territory to continue. We have to take more drastic actions, instead of filing the usual diplomatic protest note,” he said.

For her part, Brosas said the incident was a chance for the Marcos administration to openly condemn China for its actions.

“These brazen actions by China jeopardize the safety of Filipino service members and hinder the lawful activities of the Philippines in its own exclusive economic zone. We call on the international community to stand with the Philippines in upholding the rules-based international order and respecting the United Nations Convention for the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS),” Brosas said.

“This a critical point for the Philippine government to stand with the Filipino people and end this one-sided diplomatic dance with China. President Marcos Jr. must openly condemn China’s aggressive actions in the West Philippine Sea which continues to threaten the livelihood and security of our fisherfolk and coastal communities.”

Brosas also noted that China should heed the call of several countries — Australia, Japan, Canada, the United Kingdom, and members of the European Union — to stop actions that threaten regional peace and stability.

“We urge China to cease its aggressive actions to resolve territorial disputes. The safety and security of Filipino service members and the peaceful navigation of international waters must be upheld,” Brosas said.

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