House urged to condemn Chinaâs harassment of Filipinos in West Philippine Sea
This March 22, 2021 aerial photo shows Chinese vessels still present in the Julian Felipe Reef in the West Philippine Sea, well within the Philippine exclusive economic zone and continental shelf.
Armed Forces of the Philippines

House urged to condemn China’s harassment of Filipinos in West Philippine Sea

Xave Gregorio (Philstar.com) - April 14, 2021 - 11:56am

MANILA, Philippines — A lawmaker is pushing the House of Representatives to condemn China’s harassment of Filipinos in the West Philippine Sea, particularly its chasing of a civilian Filipino vessel and the swarming of its alleged militias in the area.

“This manifest bullying by the People’s Republic of China … is the height of Chinese arrogance and hypocrisy following their persistent call on others to practice respect and promote peace in those waters,” Rep. Ruffy Biazon said in House Resolution No. 1707.

Biazon, who is also vice chair of the House national defense panel, said the chamber is the most appropriate body for Filipinos to protest the “continuing violation of the rights of the Republic of the Philippines and the Filipino people under international law by the People’s Republic of China.”

What happened before?

ABS-CBN’s Chiara Zambrano and her crew were supposed to visit Ayungin Shoal, where the Philippine Navy maintains its presence through BRP Sierra Madre, but they were not able to get near the area as they were chased off by a Chinese coast guard ship.

When the Chinese coast guard ship stopped following them, two smaller vessels emerged, appearing to be Type 022 Houbei fast attack crafts with two missiles mounted on them.

The Type 022 is the Chinese navy's new-generation stealth missile fast attack craft. It is equipped with two missile launchers and has a top speed of 38 knots, according to Global Security.

This incident, which happened well within the Philippines’ exclusive economic zone, came after the swarming of Chinese vessels believed to be part of Beijing’s maritime militia in the West Philippine Sea.

What will happen next?

Congress will not be in session until May 17, which means that Biazon’s resolution cannot be referred to any committee until then.

The House can either refer his resolution to the defense panel or the rules committee once it resumes session.

But whether the House would actually act on it is another matter. Several resolutions pertaining to China’s actions within the Philippines’ exclusive economic zone remain pending with various committees of the chamber. — with a report from Patricia Lourdes Viray

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