Zarate, Brosas tell Lorenzana: Whether it was a test or gun-pointing, incident shows China is a bully
MANILA, Philippines – Bayan Muna Rep. Carlos Zarate took exception to Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana’s claim that the Chinese Navy ship’s gun-pointing at the West Philippine Sea (WPS) incident was just a test, saying that it still shows that China is a bully.
Zarate said on Tuesday that it is not a matter of whether the Chinese corvette’s radar gun, which was aimed at the Philippine Navy warship BRP Conrado Yap in an incident last February.
Lorenzana earlier said that the pointing of guns at BRP Conrado Yap was just a test of how the Philippine side would respond to the Chinese vessel. During that incident, the Philippine Navy was conducting border patrol, asking the Chinese side to leave the area.
“Pinaputok man o hindi pa ang radar gun nila, malinaw ang sadya o intensyon ng China: i-bully pa at takutin ang PN at ang mga maliliit na bansang katulad ng Pilipinas na claimants sa WPS,” Zarate said in a statement.
(Whether their radar gun was fired or not, the intentions of China are clear: they want to bully and intimidate the Philippine Navy and other small countries who have claimed parts of the West Philippine Sea, like the Philippines.)
“Noong mga nakaraang panahon, verbal.na pananakot lang ang ginawa nila, nitong nakaraan nakatutok na ang mga baril nila, bukas, makalawa malamang ipuputok na nila ang mga baril nila para lang maigiit ang gusto nilang pag aangkin sa ating mga teritoryo,” he added.
(In the past, they were only making verbal intimidation but just recently, they pointed the guns at us. In the future, who knows but they may fire at us just to push their agenda of occupying our territories.)
Preempting the investigation
Gabriela party-list Rep. Arlene Brosas said, on the other hand, that these statements from Lorenzana preempt the investigation by defending that China had no intention to harm Filipino soldiers.
“Pinangununahan ni Defense Secretary Lorenzana ang imbestigasyon sa pagtutok ng radar gun ng Chinese ship sa ating Navy sa agarang pagdepensa nito sa intensiyon umano ng Tsina. Para itong manghuhula na pabor sa Beijing gayong mayroon na ngang diplomatic protest na naisampa dahil sa posibleng paglabag na nagawa,” Brosas claimed.
(Defense Secretary Lorenzana preempts the investigation on the Chinese ship’s pointing of a radar gun on our Navy with its immediate defense of China’s alleged intentions. It’s like a fortune teller who is in favor of Beijing even if there already is a diplomatic protest.)
“Hindi dapat maging bulag at bingi ang sandatahan ng Pilipinas sa ganitong lantaran na pagyurak sa sovereign rights ng bansa. Masusing imbestigasyon ang kailangan at hindi pagsawalang bahala at panghuhula,” she added.
(The Philippine military should not be blind and deaf to the trampling of the country’s sovereign rights. A thorough investigation is needed and not relying on giving wild guesses.)
Last April 23, Western Mindanao chief Vice Admiral Rene Medina confirmed the gun-pointing incident. According to him, the Philippine Navy ship radioed the Chinese corvette to leave, but it instead replied that “The Chinese government has indisputable sovereignty over the South China Sea, its islands and its adjacent waters”.
After this, the Chinese ship maintained its course and speed despite instructions from the Philippine Navy. But Medina said the BRP Conrado Yap’s crew “visually observed” that the Chinese ship’s gun-firing mechanism was being aimed at the Philippine Navy vessel.
Recently, Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. said that the Philippines has filed two diplomatic protests against China’s activities — first for naming two islands inside the Philippine territory as part of their administrative districts, and second for the gun-pointing incident.
China and the Philippines have enjoyed renewed ties, largely due to President Rodrigo Duterte’s move to align with the Asian superpower and enforce an independent foreign policy.
However, critics have slammed the government’s alleged inaction on several issues and supposed problems that came with the Duterte administration’s cozy relationship with Beijing — including the Asian superpower’s expansion in the disputed region.
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