WPS

Permanent structures vs China bullying urged

March 4, 2024 Ryan Ponce Pacpaco 91 views

WITH increasing Chinese incursions in the West Philippine Sea (WPS), members of the House of Representatives on Monday stressed the need to develop major infrastructure projects in the Kalayaan Island Group and in Pag-asa Island to assert Philippine presence in the disputed territory.

Bataan Rep. Geraldine Roman, Zambales Rep. Jefferson Khonghun, La Union Rep. Francisco Paolo Ortega V, and Deputy Speaker and Quezon Rep. David “Jayjay” Suarez said they fully support Speaker Ferdinand Martin G. Romualdez’s efforts to develop more permanent structures in the Philippine-occupied island groups that can help the country’s patrols in WPS territory and exclusive economic zone (EEZ).

“This highlights the need for our country to invest in our defense infrastructure as well as the installations located in the islands that we already occupied,” Roman said.

“It should be a matter of priority, actually. Alam nyo naman, ayaw natin ‘yung nagpapa-bully. And papakita natin na meron tayong paninindigan sa ating bansa. And I believe that the President is a taking the right actions in this regard,” Roman added.

Roman said that she supports President Ferdinand “Bongbong” R. Marcos Jr.’s position on not surrendering an inch of Philippine territory to China and vows as a lawmaker to push for the President’s policies on WPS.

“And kami naman po, narito kami sa Kongreso to support kung ano man ang pangangailangan ng Executive para maproteksyunan nila ang territorial integrity ng ating bansa,” Roman said.

Khonghun said that aside from continuously filing diplomatic protest against China, he said developing more permanent facilities in Kalayaan and Pag-asa Island will help assert Philippine sovereignty in the WPS.

“We are one with Speaker Romualdez in also developing, lalong-lalo na yung ating mga airport facilities sa Kalayaan. So napaka-importante nun na talagang masabi natin na yung presence natin nandun. And dapat lang talaga na hindi natin isinusuko ang ating teritoryo,” he said.

“At hindi tayo pumapayag na patuloy na panghihimasok ng China sa ating teritoryo. So, alam naman natin na hindi pababayaan ng ating Pangulo na mangyari yan at patuloy na gumagawa ng paraan ang ating Presidente para hindi na ito mangyari ulit,” he added.

Ortega said that aside from airports and seaports, the Philippine government should also develop tourism and business destinations in Pag-asa and Kalayaan islands.

“Hindi lang airports and seaports but even the Speaker encourage tourism activities, tourism sites, business activities or business infrastructures na ilagay po dyan sa ating mga borders at saka sa mga lugar na ‘yan,” he said.

“The president has made a clear stand with that issue, ginagawa po natin lahat ng naaayon sa batas at naaayon po sa ating karapatan and of course, very clear po sa presidente na hindi po natin ibibigay itong mga ganitong lugar,” Ortega said.

For Suarez, bilateral agreements with other countries are very important in supporting the Philippines’ cause in the WPS.

“Kaya napakahalaga po ‘yung partnership bilateral agreements and cooperation that President Bongbong Marcos has been doing and strengthening with his trips because this strengthens the position of the President when it comes to our exclusive economic zone,” he said.

He also thank Speaker Romualdez for his commitment to safeguard the integrity of the Philippine territory.

“We thank Speaker Martin Romualdez for being steadfast with his commitment that not even an inch will be sacrificed when it comes to fighting for our sovereignty and our territory,” Suarez said.

“I would like to reiterate the position of Congresswoman Geraldine Roman, it is necessary for us to double down on our defense, spending, funding and allocation just so that we can properly protect what is naturally ours,” he added.

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