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Lakas-CMD condemns China’s aggressive acts

Speaker Ferdinand Martin G. Romualdez delivers his message during the luncheon meeting with Lakas-CMD party officials and members at the Social Hall of the House of Representatives Monday afternoon.photo by Ver Noveno
Maricel Cruz

The Lakas-Christian Muslim Democrats (Lakas-CMD) political party of Speaker Martin Romualdez has condemned in “the strongest possible terms” the latest aggressive actions of China in the West Philippine Sea.

“We, the members of the Lakas-Christian Muslim Democrats (Lakas-CMD), condemn in the strongest possible terms the illegal and blatant actions of the China Coast Guard and the Chinese maritime militia last Oct. 22, 2023, in the waters near the vicinity of the Ayungin Shoal,” the political party said in a statement Wednesday.

A Chinese Coast Guard vessel hit a Philippine Navy-contracted boat ferrying supplies to BRP Sierra Madre while another vessel of the Chinese maritime militia also bumped the Philippine Coast Guard ship BRP Cabra.

“Said actions seriously endangered the lives and safety of Filipinos on board said vessels. The illegal and dangerous maneuvers of the Chinese vessels clearly violated the international conventions on the prevention of collisions at seas,” the party said.

Romualdez, president of Lakas-CMD and Leyte’s 1st district representative, earlier denounced the intentional maneuvers of the Chinese vessels, saying “such actions not only jeopardized the lives of those onboard but also threatened regional peace and stability.”

For his part, Rep. Brian Yamsuan urged fellow lawmakers to support the approval of a measure that would delineate the Philippines’ archipelagic sea lanes as a means to bar the unauthorized passage of foreign vessels within the country’s territorial waters and airspace.

“We join Speaker Ferdinand Martin Romualdez in strongly condemning China’s reckless and dangerous actions in the West Philippine Sea. These acts pose a threat to regional peace and stability and are blatant violations of international law,” said Yamsuan, a member of the House Special Committee on the West Philippine Sea.

“While China continues to disregard our freedom of navigation within our own exclusive economic zone (EEZ), we should act quickly to ensure that such actions do not embolden them to encroach on our territorial waters and conduct any kind of activity without the permission of our government,” he added.

Yamsuan said establishing the Philippines’ archipelagic sea lanes and implementing a Maritime Zones Act would strengthen the Philippines’ position with respect to obligating other countries to comply with the provisions of international law.

In May, the House passed on third and final reading House Bill (HB) 7819 or the proposed Maritime Zones Act, which provides for a general declaration of the maritime zones under the jurisdiction of the Philippines. These include its internal waters, archipelagic waters, territorial sea, contiguous zone, EEZ and continental shelf.

On the other hand, HB 9034 designates the sea lanes and air routes in the West Philippine Sea for the continuous and speedy travel of foreign ships and aircraft exercising their right of innocent passage.

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