Militants call on China to stop WPS 'harassment'

On the eve of the country's 126th Independence Day celebration, militant groups trooped to the Chinese Consular Office in Makati City on Tuesday, June 11, to urge the Chinese government to stop its aggressive actions in the West Philippine Sea (WPS).


(Photos from Atin Ito Coalition)

The Atin Ito Coalition, alongside Akbayan Party, the Philippine Rural Reconstruction Movement (PRRM), activist priest Fr. Robert Reyes, fisher leaders from the New Masinloc Fishermen Association, and the Mabayo Agri Aqua Association in Bataan, were joined by various groups including the Student Council Alliance of the Philippines (SCAP), the Pambansang Katipunan ng mga Samahan sa Kanayunan (PKSK), the Pambansang Kilusan ng mga Samahang Magsasaka (PAKISAMA), Akbayan Youth, and other sectoral groups and social movements in the protest calling for "independence against China's aggressive militarization" in the region.

The group said the protest stems from a series of aggressive maneuvers and harassment by the China Coast Guard (CCG) in the WPS against its Filipino counterparts, particularly during Philippine resupply missions, confiscation of supplies meant for frontliners, and obstruction of medical evacuations at the Ayungin Shoal.

"Incidents at Escoda Shoal and sightings of Chinese naval ships in Basilan Strait and Zamboanga have only added to the tension, alongside ongoing harassment of Filipino fishers and threats of detention in the WPS," the groups said.

"We remind China that our history bears witness to a resilient Filipino spirit, forged through countless struggles against foreign aggressors and the shadow of superpowers. Our journey toward freedom, independence, and democracy is woven with the courage of generations who stood firm against colonial dominion and invasive forces," Akbayan Party President and Atin Ito co-convenor Rafaela David said.

"Should China harbor the misconception that it could break us through its escalation of violence and harassment in our region, it grievously underestimates our resolve. China stands as but the latest entrant in a lineage of foreign aggressors against which Filipinos have fearlessly contended throughout the annals of time," she added.

For his part, PRRM President Edicio Dela Torre underscored the importance of global solidarity and action against China's transgressions.

"China's narrative is deceptive. While accusing the Philippines of violating international law, it openly aggresses our vessels and loots our supplies. The truth is evident: China is the aggressor," he said.

The two leaders played pivotal roles in the recent civilian-led supply missions to the WPS. These missions, including a Christmas convoy last December and a supply mission in May this year, involved a flotilla of civilian vessels and small boats.

In their recent mission, they have successfully conducted a "peace and solidarity regatta" of more than a hundred fishing boats within the Philippines' Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), deployed symbolic buoys marked "WPS Atin Ito" and delivered vital supplies to Filipino fishers.

"China will not intimidate us. In the spirit of our forefathers who resisted colonial powers, we assert that we will not succumb to the tyranny of our era. With each act of aggression, we respond with unity, solidarity, courage and hope," David stressed.