Youth group Anakbayan today led a protest action in Mendiola to condemn the Chinese takeover of the Quirino or Jackson Atoll, a traditional Filipino shipping ground located just 140 nautical miles west of the coast of Palawan.
News reports have said that five gray and white-colored Chinese ships are occupying the atoll to keep Filipino fishermen away. The same reports cited Kalayaan Mayor Eugenio Bito-onon Jr. saying that these vessels have been stationed in the atoll for over a month already.
Anakbayan National Chairperson Vencer Crisostomo asserted that China is an imperialist bully trampling on Philippine sovereignty by deploying its military forces in an atoll falling within the Philippines’ 200-mile exclusive economic zone.
He said this latest incident serves to further escalate tensions in the region in the wake of last month’s deployment of surface-to-air missiles by the Chinese government in Woody Island, which is part of the disputed Paracel Island chain.
“The new kid in town among the world’s imperialist powers, China is aggressively flexing its muscles to unjustly secure control over the West Philippine Sea. The Filipino people must stand against imperialist China’s intrusion of Philippine territory,” said Crisostomo.
He challenged China to settle the dispute over territory peacefully through diplomatic talks and respect international arbitration, saying China has no legal and historical right over the whole of the West Philippine Sea.
At the same time, the youth leader also condemned the Aquino administration for using Chinese incursions to justify US military presence in the country while allowing China to take over Philippine territory piece by piece.
“Both the US and Chinese imperialists are two bullies fighting over Philippine territory. It’s a shame that Aquino has wilfully surrendered our sovereignty to the US while doing nothing to stop Chinese aggression,” said Crisostomo.
The youth group vowed to hold more protest actions to defend Philippine sovereignty against both US and Chinese imperialism.