Marcos’ consultation of AFP right move after China’s water cannon attack — Romuldez
MANILA, Philippines — President Ferdinand Marcos Jr’s move to consult the military after China’s Coast Guard water cannoned a Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) vessel in the West Philippine Sea (WPS) was correct, House Speaker Ferdinand Martin Romualdez said on Monday.
Romualdez in a statement said that Marcos’ decision to consult the country’s defense establishment first was the best move that the government could make, after the PCG vessel slated to deliver supplies to Filipino soldiers stationed at Ayungin Shoal in the WPS region near Palawan.
“The President made the right decision to get the consensus of officials of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) on how best the government can address the latest incident in the West Philippine Sea,” Romualdez said.
“We support his position that we should continue to assert our sovereignty there and that we should defend every inch of our territory,” he said.
Marcos, on the sidelines of the aid distribution to flood victims in Bulacan said that the Philippine government, through the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), sent a note verbale to China.
The President also added that he has called for a command conference to come up with a comprehensive response to China’s dangerous maneuvers in the West Philippine Sea.
“Actually today, pagkatapos ng change of command ng CGPA (Commanding General of the Philippine Army) ay magkakaroon kami ng command conference tungkol nga dito, on how we will respond,” Marcos said.
(Actually today, after the change of command of the Commanding General of the Philippine Army, we will have a command conference about this, on how we will respond.)
The PCG on Sunday condemned the Chinese Coast Guard for its “illegal” and “dangerous” use of its water cannon against Philippine vessels escorting boats doing a resupply mission to troops stationed at the BRP Sierra Madre on Ayungin Shoal.
In a separate statement, the AFP said that the second boat was not able to unload supplies and complete its mission.
“Such actions by the CCG not only disregarded the safety of the PCG crew and the supply boats but also violated international law, including the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), the 1972 Convention on the International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea (COLREGS), and the 2016 Arbitral Award,” PCG spokesperson for the West Philippine Sea Commodore Jay Tarriela said.
It added that the CCG should refrain from “hampering freedom of navigation and take appropriate actions against the individuals involved in this unlawful incident.”