Bayan Muna lambasts China’s occupation of Julian Felipe reef

Published March 31, 2021, 5:20 PM

by Ben Rosario

Are Chinese vaccines the Duterte admin’s 30 pieces of silver? 

China has been using its vaccine donations to soften Filipino officials stance on its continued incursions on areas clearly belonging to the exclusive economic zone of the Philippines.

House Deputy Minority Leader and Bayan Muna Rep. Carlos Isagani Zarate  aired this view as he chided China for “practically occupying” Julian Felipe Reef which is located with the Philippines’ EEZ.

Photos of Chinese vessels spotted at the Julian Felipe Reef on March 27, 2021.
(Photo courtesy of National Task Force for the West Philippine Sea)

“China is apparently misleading the Philippine government and brazenly covering up the real purpose why Julian Felipe Reef is being swarmed by its maritime militia,” Zaratre said in a statement.

Media reports showed the Chinese fleet currently at the West Philippine Sea demanded a Philippine military aircraft conducting an aerial patrol to “leave immediately” as it flew over Julian Felipe Reef last Tuesday 

The Chinese radio communication said: “You are approaching a Chinese reef. To avoid any move that may cause misunderstanding, please leave immediately,” 

“This is glaring proof that the Chinese maritime militia fleet is not there because of a weather disturbance but as a prelude to fully occupying Julian Felipe Reef, do reclamation activities and convert  it into another artificial island-cum-military installation,  like what they did to at least seven of our reefs,” said the progressive solon. 

“Now there seems to be a concerted  push by China to grab or at least cordon the islands in the West Philippine Sea as the National Task Force for West PH Sea now just issued a statement that the Chinese vessels have dispersed to other areas in the Kalayaan Island Group and West Philippine Sea,” noted Zarate.

 He said : “On 29 March 2021, 44 CMM remain moored, anchored, and stationary at Julian Felipe Reef. In addition, 115 CMM vessels are now monitored in Chigua (Kennan) Reef, 45 vessels in Pag-asa (Thitu) Islands and the other fifty (50) vessels are dispersed in Panganiban (Mischief), Kagitingan (Fiery), and Zamora (Subi) Reefs, all within the Kalayaan Island Group.”

“At this rate they seem yo be trying to occupy all the islands in the West Philippine Sea and the Philippine government should act now,” the opposition lawmaker stated.

“Talaga bang hahayaan na lang ito ng pamahalaang Durterte? (Will the Dutertre government allow this to happen) Is this in exchange of the so-called vaccine diplomacy ng China?” Rep. Zarate asked.  “We should not allow that these donated vaccines by China be like the biblical  ‘thirty pieces of silver’ that will further betray and sell out  our national sovereignty and sovereign rights in our territories,” said Zarate.