Magdalo Partylist Rep. Manuel Cabochan III has called the statement of a Chinese official on the Ayungin Shoal issue 'absurd'.
"It is absurd, but then again, it is a statement coming from a Chinese official which begs a question," Cabochan said in a press statement on Thursday, Nov. 25, about Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian.
"We need to ask if, in fact, there was a commitment made to remove BRP Sierra Madre in the Ayungin Shoal and who made such commitment on behalf of the Philippines. The claim of China that there is supposed commitment made should be clarified because it is evident that the Philippines solely has sovereign rights in the Ayungin Shoal. The Philippines has a legal basis according to the UNCLOS and the 2016 arbitration ruling."
"We are not obliged to seek permission for our actions in the Ayungin Shoal from China or anyone else. Sa atin ang Ayungin Shoal. Kung meron mang trespasser doon, ito ay ang China (Ayungin Shoal is ours. If there is a trespasser in that area, it is China)," added Cabochan.
Cabochan, in a recent Ang Magdalo Facebook post, called the actions of the Chinese Coast Guard in Ayungin Shoal illegal since it is part of the exclusive economic zone and continental shelf of the country.
The Magdalo Partylist solon also condemned the harassment and bullying of China against Filipino soldiers and fishermen in our own waters.
Cabochan also called on the Duterte Administration to be more assertive in protecting the country's sovereignty because "China intends to force us out of our territory in the West Philippine Sea." He added that we must not let this happen and we must defend what is ours according to international law.