Intolerable! Romualdez condemns China’s shooting of PH ships with water
MANILA, Philippines — House Speaker Ferdinand Martin Romualdez has called for China to stop immediately harassing Philippine vessels in the West Philippine Sea (WPS).
He said Beijing should respect the 2016 Hague arbitral tribunal ruling.
In a statement on Friday, the Speaker condemned the latest aggressive actions by the Chinese Coast Guard against the Philippine contingent on a resupply mission to BRP Sierra Madre.
BRP Sierra Madre is grounded at Ayungin Shoal.
According to the House leader, such action is a gross violation of the diplomatic processes.
“The harassment, blocking, execution of dangerous maneuvers, and deployment of water cannons against unarmed vessels engaged in routine operations is not only dangerous but also a blatant disregard for the diplomatic processes we, as a nation, have consistently and firmly advocated for,” Romualdez said.
“It is a clear attempt to undermine the peace and stability of the region, and it cannot be tolerated,” he added.
Romualdez made these pronouncements after the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) confirmed that a Chinese Coast Guard vessel fired a water cannon on a resupply vessel commissioned by the Armed Forces of the Philippines.
However, PCG also said the attempt of the Chinese side to change the route of the resupply vessel failed.
“CCG vessel 5203 deployed water cannon against Philippine supply vessel M/L Kalayaan in an illegal, though unsuccessful, attempt to force the latter to alter course,” PCG had said in another statement.
Romualdez also called on the Philippines’ neighbors and allies to join the country in condemning China’s aggressive actions.
“This unprovoked act of hostility directly violates our nation’s sovereign rights and international law, including the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (Unclos),” he said.
“I call upon the international community, especially our Asean neighbors and allies, to join us in condemning these actions and to stand with us in upholding the freedom of navigation, the rule of law, and the preservation of peace in the region. We will take all necessary measures, including the filing of a diplomatic protest, to protect our sovereign rights and to ensure the safety of our citizens,” he added.
The Speaker issued a stern warning, too, that while the Philippines “seeks peace,” the country will always “defend our rights with steadfast determination.”
This is not the first time that China made aggressive moves on the WPS, particularly near Ayungin. Last October 2022, one of the Chinese Coast Guard vessels chasing its PCG counterpart ended up in a collision with a resupply boat.
On August 6, the Philippines and China figured in another incident, after a Chinese Coast Guard vessel water-cannoned Philippine vessels doing the another resupply mission.
Ayungin shoal is well within the Philippines’ exclusive economic zone, but China claimed that a former administration promised to remove BRP Sierra Madre from the shoal.
President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. responded by saying that he has not made that agreement, and if such a deal exists, it has already been terminated.