Chinese vessels staying in the West PH Sea for good?

Published November 20, 2021, 6:47 PM

by Mario Casayuran

It seems the Chinese military is in the West Philippine Sea (WPS) for good and the militarily-weak Philippines can only file diplomatic protests against their behavior.

Lacson Kalayaan Island

The pilot of a private plane that presidential aspirant Senator Panfilo M. Lacson boarded in visiting Pagasa island today was challenged days ago by one of the Chinese Coast Guard vessels as it approached the island.

The Chinese vessels were stationed a little beyond the three-nautical mile distance from the island of Pagasa, Lacson said in his Viber account.

‘’As we landed on the airstrip, nakabasa ako ng (I read a) text, ‘Welcome to China.’ This is unusual,’’ Lacson said.

‘’A few days ago, last Nov. 16, two supply vessels of our PH Navy were blocked and sprayed with salt water coming from high pressure water cannons of at least three Coast Guard vessels belonging to the PROC (People’s Republic of China),’’ he said.

‘’This is totally unacceptable. Our leadership should take a more positive and definite stand or position along this line. But what can we do? We are a weak country and China is a powerful country militarily,’’ he added.

‘’We came from a visit to one of the most beautiful places in the country, the island called Pagasa, meaning hope, belonging to the municipality of Kalayaan meaning freedom, in the middle of the West Philippine Sea,’’ he pointed out.

‘’’Hope for Pagasa in Kalayaan. Hope for lasting peace and tranquility in the WPS area, and freedom of navigation for all nations to enjoy,’’ he said.

Lacson’s account of his visit to Pagasa follows:

‘’It’s good we visited the island. As I have been saying Balance of Power. We cannot do it alone, we need to strengthen our alliances with different countries of the world. EU, US, Australia, Japan, even Canada, as well as other ASEAN neighbors. Ito ang pwede nating gawin (This is what we could do).

‘’As we received a briefing from Wescom commander Lt. General Enriquez ito kasama sa discussion namin. I suggested to him to influence our national leadership to go in that direction. Kasi we’re (because we are) so helpless. Parang ‘Welcome to China,’ tapos (afterwards) being challenged by a Chinese Coast Guard vessel, parang we’re encroaching on their territory. Ang (the) incident sa (at) Ayungin is unacceptable.

As we went around the island and talked with the fisherfolk beneath the difficulties in life there is the sense of patriotism. 193 inhabitants, 1 elementary school, 2 teachers teaching 34 students multigrade. Government must really step in.

‘’It’s good the AFP may construction going on. Ito kasama sa budget ng AFP ine-extend ang airstrip to 1300 para maka-land ang regular aircraft like the one we were using (This is part of the AFP budget to extend the airstrip to 1,300 meters so that regular aircraft like the one we are using could land). Kanina we changed planes kasi maiksi ang airstrip (We had changed planes because the strip is short).

‘’Ito ang natutunan namin from the inhabitants (This is what we learned from the inhabitants). And the leadership must respond to give them that sense of belonging to the country, pati ang ating sense of territorial integrity. Because we should enjoy sovereign rights … And here we are, ganoon ang nangyayari (That’s what happened). Tayo ang china-challenge, tinataboy (We are being chillenged, shooed away). Pathetic to say the least.’’

 
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