Don’t ‘downplay’ threat of China coast guard law, Hontiveros tells Lorenzana

MANILA, Philippines — Senator Risa Hontiveros on Wednesday known as on Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana to not “downplay” the attainable threat of China’s coast guard legislation to Filipino fishermen, saying Beijing may “interpret and implement its law the way it pleases.”

“Dapat tayo ang unang tagapagtanggol ng mga mangingisda natin [We should be the first to defend our fishermen], because China will not protect them,” Hontiveros mentioned in a press release.

“We don’t have the luxury of downplaying any external threat, especially one coming from a country that has, time and again, pillaged our seas and our people,” Hontiveros mentioned in a press release.

Hontiveros issued the decision after Lorenzana assured Filipino fishermen that the “[Chinese] law “does not concern them” as a result of their boats will not be armed vessels.

“Fishermen are not armed and I advise them to continue fishing in their traditional fishing grounds like Scarborough Shoal, Reed Bank and even Mischief Reef because those are traditional fishing grounds of Filipinos,” the protection chief earlier mentioned.

This assertion nevertheless didn’t sit nicely with the senator.

“Paulit-ulit na lang bang ibabalewala ang mga banta ng Tsina? Sarili nating mga mangingisda ang mismong nagiging biktima ng pananalasa ng China, pero bakit hindi pa rin sila pinaniniwalaan ng gobyerno?” the senator went on.

(Will we proceed to downplay China’s threats? Our personal fishermen have gotten the victims of China’s aggression, however why gained’t the federal government imagine them?)

“Sila na nga ang nawalan ng hanapbuhay dahil sa paghahari-harian ng China, tapos, hindi pa pumapanig sa kanila ang mga taong dapat sana’y unang unang tagapagtanggol ng ating kapwa Pilipino?,” she added.

(They are those dropping their livelihood as a result of of China’s claims, after which, the individuals who needs to be the primary to defend Filipinos gained’t even imagine them.)

Lorenzana, however, claimed he was “very concerned” concerning the legislation, saying it may trigger “miscalculations and accidents” in disputed waters.

Under China’s new legislation, the Chinese Coast Guard might be allowed to “take all necessary measures, including the use of weapons when national sovereignty, sovereign rights, and jurisdiction are being illegally infringed upon by foreign organizations or individuals at sea.”

But Hontiveros mentioned the protection division ought to “focus on enforcing our laws in our own waters, because China will interpret and implement its law the way it pleases.”

“We should step up our game by protecting the livelihood and economic interests of our compatriots in the West Philippine Sea,” she added.

While she welcomed Lorenzana’s assurance that the federal government may have Philippine Coast Guard and Philippine Navy patrols guarantee our fisherfolk’s safety within the disputed waters, Hontiveros confused that the protection division ought to cease “dismissing the concerns raised by fisherfolks themselves.”

“The [Department of National Defense] better start listening to our fisherfolk. Nakakalungkot na may mga balita pang baka nagsisinungaling daw ang mga mangingisdang nagrereklamo sa panghaharass ng Tsina. Sila na nga ang mawawalan ng kabuhayan, sila pa ang sinungaling?” the senator mentioned.

(The DND higher begin listening to our fisherfolk. It’s upsetting to learn that our fishermen had been made to seem like they weren’t telling the reality about China’s harassment. They are those dropping their livelihood, and but they’re made to seem like they’re mendacity?)

Earlier, the navy in Palawan mentioned a Filipino fisherman’s report about being harassed by a China Coast Guard ship close to the Philippine-occupied Pag-asa (Thitu) Island within the West Philippine Sea was “improbable.”

Armed Forces of the Philippines chief Lt. Gen. Cirilito Sobejana earlier mentioned the Philippines will deploy extra naval property within the West Philippine Sea amid China’s “very alarming” and “very irresponsible” legislation

Meanwhile, the Chinese Embassy in Manila defended China’s new legislation, saying it conforms to worldwide conventions and isn’t focused at any particular nation. The embassy additionally denied claims of Chinese harassment of Filipino fishermen.


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