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From island reclamations to illegal fishing to missile testing — what’s next?

05:01 AM July 08, 2019

The report about the missile testing of China in the West Philippine Sea is quite disturbing. This action is beyond international norms and must be stopped soonest. The Chinese do not own that area. The international community should not be silent on this development that was done on Philippine waters. This is not disputed anymore, because there’s a ruling by The Hague that the Philippines owns that territory.

From the ramming incident of the Filipino fishing boat in Recto Bank, to illegal fishing operations, and now this missile test. A lot is at stake here — not only the state of aquatic resources but the damage to Filipino lives and livelihoods.

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And yet the Philippine government has made no concrete actions on this matter. Yes, we have the Coast Guard and Navy patrolling in the area. But how about being clear about our international policies, if there are any? Are we simply going to watch Chinese poachers destroy our resources? Will we let them continue to rob us of about P33.1 billion annually from the damaged reef ecosystems at Panatag (Scarborough) Shoal and the Spratly Islands, mainly due to China’s reclamation activities and illegal fishing operations?

Are we going to close our eyes and let them continue with these violations? Are we frightened by the fact that they already have missiles in our territory? I myself do not have anything in mind that can stop Chinese poachers; what I have right now is the desire to express a stand to protect our territory and let the authorities, the leaders of this nation, make the necessary actions, which is their duty. They are the ones mandated by our Constitution to protect our sovereignty.

At the end of the day, an ordinary citizen like me can only submit these concerns to the hands of our almighty God.

REGINE AGAPAY, [email protected]

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TAGS: Illegal fishing, Inquirer letters, island reclamations, Maritime Dispute, missile testing, PH-China relations, Regine Agapay
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