Akbayan Youth to Duterte: Serve the Philippines, not China
MANILA, Philippines — Akbayan Youth called on President Rodrigo Duterte to serve the Philippines and not China as the President is set to deliver his fourth State of the Nation Address (SONA) on July 22.
“Ang China [ay] hindi kaibigan ng Filipino. Wala po dapat negosasyon o business as usual sa China. ‘Yan po ang true [SONA] dapat hustisya at kaginhawaan para sa Filipino, hindi kay Xi Jinping,” Justine Balane, secretary general of Akbayan Youth, told INQUIRER.net after a protest at the Nepa Q Mart in Cubao, Quezon City on Thursday.
Akbayan Youth lamented that the Philippines is becoming a province of China, noting the Duterte administration’s alleged silence after a Chinese vessel abandoned the crew of a Philippine fishing boat that sank in Recto (Reed) Bank in West Philippine Sea (WPS).
“Andito ang Akbayan Youth para bago ang SONA ni President Duterte sa Lunes, pinapakita namin ang ipapakita niya ay SOPAS, ‘State of the Province Address’ kasi nagiging province of China, tayo ika nga,” Balane said during the rally.
“Twenty-two fisherfolk, binangga at iniwan sa gitna ng karagatan, hindi tinulungan. Nasa gitna ng karagatan, takot, giniginanaw, gutom. Isang malaking paglabag sa batas na iniwan ng China kahit aksidente naman yun, ano ginawa ng gobyerno natin? Walang ginawa ang gobyerno natin,” he added.
The group was referring to the Chinese fishing vessel that abandoned Filipino ship Gem-Ver 1 after it sank in Recto Bank on June 9.
A joint investigation of the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) and the Maritime Industry Authority (Marina) showed that the Chinese vessel failed to take steps to prevent it from hitting the Philippine fishing vessel.
Akbayan also criticized the 74-year-old Duterte for saying that he owns the West Philippine Sea, noting that the disputed sea is for the Filipinos and not for China.
“President Duterte, hindi kayo nagmamay-ari ng Pilipinas at ang karagatan natin. Ang nagmamayari nito ay ang mga Pilipino. Malinaw po na hindi niyo basta basta na ibibigay lang ang karapatang pangingisda sa kaibigan niyong si Xi Jinping,” Balane said.
In a speech on Wednesday, Duterte insisted Manila’s sovereign rights despite in the West Philippine Sea despite his decision to permit Chinese fishermen to fish in the country’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ).
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