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‘Not cowed into submission’

Manila Standard

PRESIDENT Ferdinand Marcos Jr. has sent an unequivocal message to the country’s giant northern neighbor China when the 66-year-old leader said the Philippines will not be bullied into silence.

In his statement the other day, President Marcos said “We seek no conflict with any nation, more so nations that purport and claim to be our friends, but we will not be cowed into silence, submission, or subservience. Filipinos do not yield.”

His statement came after the China Coast Guard again blocked and fired water cannons at a Filipino supply vessel last weekend, damaging the vessel and injuring three soldiers.

We understand from the President the government will implement a “response and counter-measure package that is proportionate, deliberate, and reasonable in the face of the open, unabating, and illegal, coercive, aggressive, and dangerous attacks by agents of the China Coast Guard and the Chinese maritime militia.”

The President has been in “constant communication” with international allies and partners who offered to help the Philippines in protecting and securing its sovereign rights and jurisdiction while ensuring peace and stability in the Indo-Pacific.”

Manila has given its allies its requirements and has been assured these requirements will be addressed before too long.

At the same time, US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin III once again reaffirmed Washington’s “ironclad” commitment to Manila in a phone call with Defense Secretary Gilberto Teodoro.

It is incredulous that China has the undisguised conceit when it blamed the Philippines for “provocations” as the cause of rising tensions in the West Philippine Sea, which is within the Philippines’ 200-mile exclusive economic zone.

A Chinese defense ministry statement said “China will not allow the Philippines to do whatever it wants, and has responded in a reasonable and forceful manner.”

We are behind the Philippines Department of National Defense when it said the Chinese defense ministry statement “clearly reflects their isolation from the rest of the world on their illegal and uncivilized activities in the West Philippine Sea.”

It is true that such statement demonstrated China’s inability, in the words of the DND, “to conduct open, transparent and legal negotiations (and) their repertoire consists only of patronizing and, failing that, intimidating smaller countries.”

“We do not yield. We are Filipinos.”

The National Defense College Alumni Association also denounced the China Coast Guard’s use of water cannons against Philippine vessels.

“Clearly, its rogue actions that spring from its ‘might is right doctrine’ have become a menace to regional peace and amity,” the group said.

We support as well the group, which said it was standing by the government’s resolve not to yield to China’s unprovoked attack inside Philippine territory, was correct in saying “Intimidation and uncivilized acts are now part of China’s global brand, with its Coast Guard as its leading endorser.”

We know our allies are watching developments in the area which has been described as a flashpoint in the region.

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