On the eve of the celebration of the Philippine Independence Day, women lawmakers urged citizens to declare “Atin ang Pilipinas, China Layas!” to stress the unequivocal stance of the country that Filipinos are united in support of its claim of West Philippine Sea areas being illegally occupied and claimed by China.
In a virtual press conference on Friday, members of the Makabayan bloc decried the alleged continued kowtowing of the Duterte administration to China’s wishes notwithstanding the latter’s bullying tactics and refusal to discuss the issue using internationally accepted diplomatic processes.
“Sa mahabang kasaysayan ng ating mga ninuno, maging ng mga katutubo, hindi tayo kailanman nagpaloko sa mga mananakop. (In the long history of our forefathers, including indigenous peoples, we never allowed intruders to fool us.),” said Bayan Muna Rep. Eufemia Cullamat.
Asst. Minority Leader and ACT Teachers Partylist Rep. France Castro chided government for its alleged failure to ‘protect our sovereign rights over” the contested territories in the WPS.
“The priority policies of the Duterte administration are far from achieving freedom from foreign incursions and intervention, far from freedom from poverty and corruption and freedom from tyranny and misogyny,” she said.
Castro accused government under Duterte of failing to “protect and uphold human rights” as it was also unable to eliminate poverty. Instead, she said , “corruption continues to pervade.”
Gabriela Partylist Rep. Arlene Brosas chided Duterte’s claim of achieving a “win-win” stance over the WPS controversy with China.
Brosas stressed that a “win-win” situation cannot be achieved if Filipino fisherfolk continue to face harassment and denial of access to Philippines exclusive economic zones in the WPS that used to be their sole fishing grounds.
“The mockery of our national sovereignty must be put to an end,” stated Brosas.
For her part, Kabataan Partylist Rep. Sarah Jane Elago lamented that President Duterte has ignored the significance of the 2016 arbitral decision made by the United Nations in favor of the Philippines.
The lawmakers also decried attempts of allies of the Duterte government to mislead Filipinos into believing that being outspoken in defending the rights of Filipinos over the WPS is an invitation to war with China, which possesses one of the mightiest military in the world.