Harassment ng China sa Reed Bank, dapat iprotesta – Angara

HINIKAYAT ni Sen. Edgardo Angara na dapat maghain ng diplomatikong protesta at matinding reklamo sa panghihimasok ng China sa isang barkong nagsusuri sa ating karagatan dahil nilabag ng Beijing ang soberenya ng Pilipinas.

Sa kanyang maikling privilege speech Martes, Marso 8, sinabi ni Angara na walang dahilan na makipag-away ang Maynila sa Beijing at wala rin umanong dahilan na tapakan ng China ang ating karapatan.

“We have no reason to quarrel with China, nor does China have a reason to infringe on our rights. But China’s display of power – one that shows a big country strong-arming a poor country – should not be allowed to pass without strong complaint and vigorous protest,” ayon kay Angara.

Sinabi ni Angara na malinaw na pinanghimasukan ng kaibigang bansa ang ating territorial integrity at soberenya na dapat hindi ginagawa ng isang bansang malapit sa ating lahi.

“The Reed Bank incident last week is a clear encroachment of the rights of a friendly state by a supposedly friendly neighbor. It is a violation of our territorial integrity and sovereignty,” giit ni Angara.

Nitong nakaraang linggo, iniulat ng Philippine Coast Guard na isang Chinese vessel ang nanggigipit sa isang barko ng Pilipinas na nagsasagawa ng seismic survey sa karagatan ng Reed Bank.

Sa salitang naval, ibig sabihin ng harassment ang salitang trailing, approaching o hinaharang ang isang barko ng isang hiwalay na sasakyang pandagat.

Ikinatuwiran pa ni Angara na may layong 80 nautical miles ang Reed Bank sa Palawan at nasa loob ng 200 nautical miles economic zone. Bahagi ito ng ating continental shelf at teritoryong pisikal alinsujod sa batas ng karagatan.

“In fact, as early as the 1970s, the Philippines had performed exploration work on the bank. Several gas and oil companies including a consortium composed of the Yuchengco group of companies and a Swedish mining company, had done explorations there. No protest or interference by any country in the region, much less the Chinese, were heard,” ayon kay Angara.

“Even assuming that the Reed Bank is part of the Spratlys – which it is not — there is no reason or justification for harassing the said Philippine vessel,” dagdag pa niya.

Naniniwala din si Angara na nilabag ng China ang 1992 ASEAN Declaration on the South China Sea na humihimok na resolbahan ang lahat ng soberenya at jurisdictional issue sa mapayapang pamamaraan.

“It called on all parties to exercise restraint, and explore the possibility of cooperation in maritime navigation, communication and operations. It was signed on July 22, 1992 by the foreign ministers of Brunei, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore and Thailand,” paliwanag niya.

“Moreover, in 2002, China and the ASEAN signed an accord for the peaceful resolution of competing territorial claims and to freeze any steps that could spark fighting. Despite this, China has built military facilities on the islands, prompting protests from other ASEAN countries,” patapos ni Angara. Ernie Reyes

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