MAGDALO party-list Rep. Gary Alejano yesterdayvehemently condemned the continued bullying of the Chinese Coast Guard of Filipinos at Panatag Shoal, which is within the Philippines’ Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ).
Alejano lamented the experience of GMA Channel 7’s “Reporter’s Notebook” journalist Jun Veneracion and his crew who were driven away by the Chinese Coast Guard as they were filming a documentary at the Panatag Shoal in the West Philippine Sea.
He said a Chinese Coast Guard officer threatened to use force if the crew did not leave the area right away.
“Nilalatagan natin ang China ng red carpet, habang sila naman ay pinalalayas tayo sa ating teritoryo. Ganyan ba ang pagkakaibigan?” said Alejano on the recent incident of harassment by Chinese government forces in the West Philippine Sea.
“That area is within our country’s jurisdiction. Bakit Pilipino ang pinagbabawalan doon? I condemn this illegal action, yet again, by the Chinese Coast Guard against our people,” he stressed.
Given obvious tensions in the West Philippine Sea, Alejano questioned the supposed friendly relations between the Philippines and China.
“Dalawang taon nang iniyayabang ng administrasyon ang umano’y maayos na sitwasyon sa West Philippine Sea dahil sa pakikipagkaibigan natin sa China. Sa loob ng dalawang taong ito, patuloy pa rin ang pang-aabuso ng China sa ating mga kababayan,” he said.
The opposition congressman warned that if the Philippine government remains mum on the illegal actions of China, more Filipinos will be at the receiving end of China’s bullying.
“Filipino fishermen are being prevented from fishing in our own waters. Even, the Philippine military was also not spared of intimidation during patrol missions. The harassment of Chinese forces is becoming a norm, especially with the silence of the Duterte administration and its pro-China stance,” Alejano underscored.
“If indeed diplomatic ties between the Philippines and China are warmer this time, I hope our government will seize every opportunity to protect our people and fight for our rights over our territory. Hindi dapat mahigitan ng kahit anong loan o infrastructure agreement ang kahalagahan ng seguridad ng ating mga kababayan at ng bansa,” the former Marine captain said.