Latest News for Philippine Defense

‘Stop pussyfooting on China issue’

By CRISOSTOMO ARAGON

 

An ally of Malacañang in the House of Representatives on Sunday pressed the government to act decisively on China’s latest act of aggression in the West Philippine Sea (WPS), saying the protection of national territorial integrity should always come first before economic interests.

Muntinlupa Rep. Ruffy Biazon said the government should stop being “too soft” and “too friendly” with China and start denouncing the installation of military weapons in the area.

“Our territory is already under threat – that’s already a threat whatever we do, that’s a threat. The Chinese automatically raises a howl whenever we land on Kalayaan Island. We have a local government there, and the Chinese complained when a delegation was supposed to visit there,” he told a radio interview.

Biazon, a vice chairman of the House committee on national defense and security, joined opposition lawmakers in calling China’s act a “creeping militarization and a creeping invasion.”

The lawmaker was referring to China’s installation of anti-ship cruise missiles and surface-to-air missile systems on Kagitingan (Fiery Cross), Zamora (Subi), and Panganiban (Mischief) reefs.

US-based news agency CNBC earlier reported that China might have moved the missiles to the reefs during the past 30 days.

It was the first Chinese missile deployment in the Spratly Islands, where several Asian countries including Vietnam and Taiwan have rival claims.

Biazon reminded the administration that the Constitution mandates it to protect the national territorial integrity “regardless of what benefits we receive from other countries.”

The administration has been trumpeting its good relationship with China, saying it paved the way for the emerging superpower’s infrastructure loans and other investments in the country.

“If the threat to our national integrity is there, our primary duty is to uphold it. That’s what we should look at – what kind of balancing act are we going to do?” Biazon said. “Hopefully, the next action that the government will take is to exert a diplomatic effort to express displeasure – not just concern but displeasure.”

Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque earlier expressed concern over the missile deployment while President Duterte blamed the Aquino administration for failing to stop China.

Duterte wrongfully claimed that the previous administration had failed to confront China even after the country was able to secure a favorable ruling from the Permanent Court of Arbitration which validated the Philippine claim.

The President failed to say that the ruling was promulgated on July 12, 2016, or just days after he assumed the presidency. #