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How to make China pay for abuses in West Philippine Sea

As we celebrate Independence Day on June 12, we Filipinos need to continue to stand up for our rights.

Last July 12, 2016, Filipinos vindicated their rights against the continuing abuses by China in the West Philippine Sea through the Arbitration Award won in The Hague. Part of this award is the unanimous finding that China inflicted the most massive, near permanent and devastating destruction of the marine wealth belonging to Filipinos in the West Philippine Sea.

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In other words, China owes Filipinos big time for its continuing abuses in the West Philippine Sea.

As brought to the fore by Sen. Risa Hontiveros, the University of the Philippines Marine Science Institute (UP MSI) made a “conservative” estimate that our country is losing about P33.1 billion annually from our damaged reef ecosystems due to China’s reclamation activities and illegal fishing operations.

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This sums up to P231.7 billion since the start of 2014 (around the time China started dredging) until this year.

Seizure of assets

China refuses to pay its debt to the Filipino people. How will we make China pay?

Once China’s monetary damages are fixed, Philippine authorities have the right to seize assets and properties owned by the Chinese State in the Philippines to satisfy China’s debt to the Filipino people.

These assets may include the Chinese government’s interests in the National Grid Corp. of the Philippines and China Telecom, which establishes itself as the “third telco” in our country.

Other countries are now learning new measures to protect themselves.

Australia, Japan, India, the United States and the European Union have recently put in place measures to prevent China from taking over their important industries like energy and telecommunications.

Irreplaceable

After the economic contraction brought by the Covid-19 pandemic, wealthier Chinese investors are eyeing, for example, a bigger slice of Manila by taking advantage of reduced valuations in real property.

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It is time for Filipinos to unite and demand what is due. It is also time for us to protect ourselves from China’s continuing abusive practices.

Since the 1980s, China has been seizing parts of the West Philippine Sea from Filipinos like Subi Reef, Mischief Reef and Scarborough Shoal. These reefs and shoals are irreplaceable and have immense economic and strategic value to generations of Filipinos.

When are we truly going to stand up for our rights?

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TAGS: Albert del Rosario, Commentary, Maritime Dispute, PH-China relations, West Philippine Sea
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