By Raymund Antonio
Vice President Ma. Leonor “Leni” Robredo on Sunday joined calls to investigate a report that China conducted anti-ship ballistic missile test in the West Philippine Sea.
Robredo, a lawyer and opposition leader, said that China’s missile launch must be investigated by the government.
“Nakita ko iyong statement ng ating AFP na para wala pang confirmation, imbestigahan. Kung totoo ito, nakakabahala, na dapat may gawin tayo,” she said on her radio show, “BISErbisyong Leni.”
(I saw the statement of our Armed Forces that it has no confirmation yet, it will be investigated. If this is true, it is alarming; we should do something about it.)
The Vice President made the statement in the wake of a report that China has been launching missiles “near the Spratlys,” which is called the Kalayaan Islands by the Philippines.
The West Philippine Sea is part of the South China Sea that belongs to the Philippines based on the landmark ruling by The Hague in 2016.
Robredo said the missile launch was “disturbing” and contrary to pledges by China that it would not militarize the disputed area.
“Nakakabahala kasi kung naaalala natin, 2015 yata iyong pumunta sa White House iyong Chinese [President] na sinabi na walang militarization sa West Philippine Sea, sa South China Sea,” she said.
(This is alarming, because we can remember in 2015, the Chinese President went to the White House and said there was no militarization in the West Philippine Sea, South China Sea.)
“Kapag mayroon nang ganitong mga test launch, gustong sabihin na talagang may militarisasyon at kinain iyong sinabi. So kailangang malaman natin, gaano ba katotoo na nagkaroon talaga ng test launch dito,” Robredo added.
(If we have a test launch like this, it means there is really a militarization and he ate his words. So we need to know how true is the test launch.)
Meanwhile, the Vice President warned that China could deplete the country’s marine resources, with its island-building in the South China Sea.
“Kapag patuloy itong mangyayari, iyon nga, pagkatapos ng limang taon, paubos na iyong ating resources, na dapat sana ito iyong pinagkukuhanan ng hanapbuhay ng mga Pilipino,” she said.
(If this continues to happen, our resources will be gone after five years, that it should be the sources of livelihood of Filipinos.)