Lacson: PH faces triple whammy from China
The Philippine faces threats on three fronts—national security, food security and economic security—with China’s continued encroachment into the country’s territorial waters in the West Philippine Sea (WPS), Sen. Panfilo “Ping” Lacson said on Monday.
Lacson, chair of the Senate committee on national defense and security, also called on the government to take “more proactive efforts” to urge the international community to exert pressure on China to comply with the arbitral ruling favoring the Philippines.
“More often than not, we only think of national security when we hear of China’s encroachment into our territorial waters. It’s actually much more than that … It has a great effect not only on our national security because that much is obvious—but our food security and our economic security are greatly affected,” Lacson said.
Lacson raised the issue during Monday’s hearing of the Senate committee on foreign relations, which tackled two bills that seek to establish the country’s maritime zones.
The committee also discussed Lacson’s proposed Senate Resolution No. 954, which sought to condemn China’s intrusion into the Philippines’ territory and exclusive economic zone in the West Philippine Sea.
According to Lacson, fish production in the Philippines amounted to 4.36 million tons valued at P265 billion in 2018, while 1.9 million people depended on fishing for their livelihood.
The WPS region, Lacson said, supplied 27 percent of the country’s total fisheries production, with Scarborough Shoal producing around 15 to 20 metric tons of fish per year.
The Kalayaan Island Group, on the other hand, produces 62,000 to 91,000 metric tons of fish per square kilometers, feeding up to 2.3 million Filipinos per year, according to the senator.
Lacson said China’s incursions had also kept Filipinos from fully harnessing the energy resources in the WPS which, he said, was a potential source of natural gas and other resources.
The production of Malampaya natural gas field amounts to 1.94 million standard cubic feet of gas and 75.04 million barrels of associate condensate, providing some 25.8 percent of the power generated in Luzon from 2002 to 2017, the senator said.
Rich offshore hydrocarbon sources in the region have yet to be tapped, he said.
Lacson cited a 2013 US geological survey showing some 2.5 billion barrels of oil and 25.5 trillion cubic feet of natural gas in the Spratlys. INQ
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