SENATOR Christopher “Bong” Go, vice chairperson of the Senate National Defense Committee, criticized the series of reported harassments by China, further escalating tensions particularly in the disputed waters of Ayungin Shoal.
He pointed out the need to protect the country’s sovereign rights in an interview, during his personal distribution of assistance to fire victims in Quezon City.
When asked about the third resupply mission to the BRP Sierra Madre in Ayungin Shoal, Go responded, “Gaya ng parati kong sinasabi, we should protect our sovereign rights. It is our right to have a resupply mission to our BRP Sierra Madre in Ayungin Shoal.”
“Tuwing mayroon tayong nababalitaan na hinaharas sila ay dapat po ipaglaban natin ito. (Our officials must) call the attention of their counterparts sa bansang China at ipaglaban po natin kung ano po ang atin,” the senator emphasized.
On September 8, the Philippine Coast Guard faced obstruction from the China Coast Guard while en route to Ayungin Shoal. This latest incident adds to the escalating tensions in the disputed maritime area. Despite these challenges, the Philippine Coast Guard successfully completed the resupply operation.
The Philippine Armed Forces have denounced China’s behavior, labeling them as a “misplaced bully.”
Meanwhile, Go expressed support to President (Ferdinand) Bongbong Marcos in his recent call during the ASEAN Summit in Indonesia to oppose China’s dangerous maneuvers in the area, such as obstructing resupply missions.
During the 43rd ASEAN Summit in Jakarta, Indonesia, Marcos strongly criticized the use of coast guard and militia ships in the South China Sea while affirming the Philippines’ maritime rights.
Go then elaborated on the need for a unified stance to protect the country’s sovereign rights and rightful claims to its territories.
“Dapat po ay respetuhin ang ating karapatan. Kung ano ang karapatan natin na mag-resupply tayo, atin po ‘yon, karapatan po natin ‘yun. Ipaglaban po natin ang ating karapatan,” Go concluded.
Go previously condemned similar harassment of the Chinese in the area when a Chinese coast guard vessel used water cannons against a Philippine navy vessel that attempted to bring fresh supplies to the grounded BRP Sierra Madre in Ayungin Shoal.