Groups to stage anti-China rally in wake of Duterte-Xi meet
MANILA, Philippines – Various groups are set to hold a protest action at the Chinese consulate on Saturday just before President Rodrigo Duterte is scheduled to meet with Chinese president Xi Jingping in China.
According to Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan) Secretary General Renato Reyes Jr., the demonstrations will again be aimed at asserting the country’s sovereignty over the disputed territory in the West Philippine Sea (WPS).
“Protests are set this Saturday in front of the Chinese consulate to demand an end to China’s violations of our sovereign rights in the West Philippine Sea and for the recognition of the ruling of the Arbitral Tribunal,” Reyes said in a statement on Thursday.
This announcement of another rally came after Duterte arrived in China for his fifth visit in his three years in office.
Previously, Duterte assured Filipinos that he will bring up the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) ruling, which dismissed China’s nine-dash-line claim that encompasses most of WPS, for having no legal or historical basis. This was despite the past and recent pronouncement of Chinese officials that they would not recognize the ruling.
Critics of the President have called on the government to uphold the PCA decision, especially after a local fishing boat in Recto Bank sank on June 9, after a Chinese vessel collided with it. The Chinese crew then left the 22 fishermen at sea, who were eventually rescued by a Vietnamese ship.
Reyes said that groups are not satisfied with the apology from the Chinese vesel’s owner.
“Cause-oriented groups are not satisfied with the so-called apology coming from the Chinese shipowner for the sinking of Filipino boat MV GemVer,” he said.
“The apology is insufficient and dubious. It omits any mention of intentionally abandoning the Filipino crew when their boat sunk. That was a grave offense and yet no apologies from the Chinese side,” he added.
Aside from that, Reyes also asked the government to exercise caution on making deals with the Asian superpower.
“The Duterte regime should be firm in asserting our legal victory, three year after it was achieved. Duterte should not subject the Philippines to debt dependency on China as it can undermine our assertion of our legal victory in the West Philippine Sea,” he explained. /jpv
Subscribe to our daily newsletter
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.