China rejects Manila protest on ships, complains of detentions

admin   •   August 21, 2014   •   1404

A Chinese Coast Guard vessel (R) passes near the Chinese oil rig, Haiyang Shi You 981 (L) in the South China Sea, about 210 km (130 miles) from the coast of Vietnam June 13, 2014.
CREDIT: REUTERS/NGUYEN MINH

(Reuters) – China rejected Philippine complaints on Wednesday about Chinese survey vessels operating in a gas-rich area of Manila’s exclusive economic zone, and has lodged a separate complaint about the detention of Chinese workers, as tensions persist.

Philippine President Benigno Aquino said over the weekend that two Chinese survey vessels had been sighted in part of the disputed South China Sea also claimed by the Philippines called Reed Bank.

In a statement faxed to Reuters, China’s Foreign Ministry said that Reed Bank was Chinese territory.

“Survey activities being carried out by Chinese survey ships are appropriate, legal and beyond reproach,” the ministry said.

China claims almost the entire South China Sea, believed to be rich in deposits of oil and gas resources. Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan and Vietnam also claim the sea where $5 trillion of ship-borne goods pass every year.

Tensions in the South China Sea between the Philippines and China began in 2011 when Chinese patrol boats harassed a survey ship hired by Anglo-Filipino Forum Energy PLC which won a contact to explore the Reed Bank.

Another two to three Chinese ships have been seen regularly on patrol around Scarborough Shoal, another part of the disputed South China Sea.

Last month, Forum Energy PLC obtained an approval from the Philippine government to extend by one year its drilling plan for a natural gas project in Reed Bank. The company is now expected to complete by August 2016 drilling for its appraisal wells to assess the size of gas or oil discoveries.

Relations between Beijing and Manila have also been strained due to the detention of Chinese fishermen caught in waters claimed by both countries.

In a separate incident, the Chinese embassy in Manila lodged a complaint about the detention on Tuesday of more than 50 Chinese suspected of working illegally in the country.

The embassy is demanding that the authorities handle the case swiftly and fairly and treat those detained properly, the embassy said in a statement.

Philippine’s immigration authorities said that the 55 Chinese had been picked up in raids across Manila as they were believed to working without the necessary permits.

(Reporting by Ben Blanchard in Beijing and Manny Mogato in Manila; Editing by Jeremy Laurence)

11 Pinoy seafarers na ilang buwang stranded sa barko sa China, nakabalik na sa bansa

Robie de Guzman   •   September 29, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – Matapos ang halos pitong buwan ay nakauwi na sa bansa ang 11 Pilipinong marinong stranded sa sinasakyang barko sa China dahil sa pagsasara ng mga border sa iba’t ibang bansa sa gitna ng pandemiya.

Martes ng madaling araw nang dumating sa bansa ang grupo at pansamantalang mamamalagi sa isang quarantine facility sa Pasay City upang hintayin ang resulta ng swab test na isinagawa sa paliparan.

Ayon kay Anthony Medina, labis ang kagalakan niya at ng kanyang mga kasamahan dahil sa wakas ay nakauwi na sila at muli nang makakapiling ang kani-kanilang pamilya.

“Sobrang saya po namin talagang halos gusto namin na mauna pa kami sa eroplano makalapag eh. Makikita na po namin ang mga mahal namin sa buhay,” ang wika ni Medina.

Nagpasalamat din ang kapatid ni Anthony na si Analiza Medina sa lahat ng mga tumulong upang makauwi ang mga tripulante.

“Para po kaming nanghihina na parang wala ng mag rerescue sa kanila. Kaya po talagang sobrang saya namin na nakauwi na sila. Nagpapasalamat po kami sa lahat ng tumulong at sa mga hindi po nagsawa na tulungan sila,” ang pahayag ni Analiza.

Bago umuwi sa kani-kanilang pamilya, kailangan munang asikasuhan ng mga marino ang ilang mga bagay sa kanilang agency.

Samantala, tiniyak naman ng Overseas Workers Welfare Administration na bibigyan ng ayuda ang mga umuwing seafarer. – RRD (mula sa ulat ni Correspondent Lucille Lloren)

DFA finalizes repatriation for 11 stranded Filipino seafarers onboard Ocean Star 86

Aileen Cerrudo   •   September 25, 2020

The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) is finalizing the repatriation of the remaining 11 Filipino seafarers stranded in Chinese waters onboard Ocean Star 86 since March 24.

The DFA and the Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA) are already coordinating with the Philippine Embassy in China. OWWA said the seafarers will be able to return home by next week.

“Mayroon na po napipintong repatriation either this coming week or first week of October ng ating mga mahal na stranded seafarers sa China (Our stranded seafarers in China will be repatriated either this coming week or first week of October). We are now providing assistance to the seafarers,” according to OWWA administrator Hans Leo Cacdac.

Based on the information received by OWWA, the Ocean Star 86 is docked in the mainland and the Philippine Embassy in China has been providing assistance to the seafarers. AAC (with reports from Joan Nano)

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Lawmaker calls on gov’t to scrap contracts with Chinese firms involved in militarization of WPS

Marje Pelayo   •   August 31, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – Senator Risa Hontiveros urges the government to scrap all contracts with Chinese companies that are involved in constructions of military structures and other establishments in the West Philippine Sea. 

This follows the move by the United States government to blacklist a total of 24 Chinese firms that are helping the Chinese military in establishing artificial islands and militarized the disputed territory in the South China Sea and China’s alleged missile launches in the island. 

Foreign Affairs Secretary Teddy Locsin previously announced that he would recommend that the Philippine government cut business ties with Chinese companies if proven that they are involved in the militarization activities in the West Philippine Sea.

Hontiveros argued that it is alarming to know that the Philippine government is dealing with Chinese firms that destroy the country’s own territory. 

The lady senator claimed that several subsidiaries of the China Communications Construction Company Limited that were among the companies the US government blacklisted, have existing Memorandum of Understanding with the Philippine government particularly in infrastructure projects in Manila, Davao City, Cebu and Clark in Pampanga.

Among these projects include:

  • Davao Coastline and Port Development Project
  • Manila Harbour Center Reclamation Project
  • Cebu International and Bulk Terminal Project
  • Manila-Clark Railway

Additionally, the Chinese firm China Harbor Engineering Company has won the bidding in the construction of an access road to New Clark City. 

Hontiveros said these projects must stop.

“Hindi pwedeng magpatuloy ang mga proyektong ito. [These projects must stop.] If we continue with these deals, it may be equivalent to giving up our territories,” Hontiveros said.

Meanwhile, the group Akbayan urges President Rodrigo Duterte to reveal to the public all Chinese-loaned contracts that his administration has entered into.

“A comprehensive debt audit of all Chinese loans is necessary to determine if these loan agreements are legitimate, don’t carry unjust conditionalities that could undermine our country’s sovereignty, territory, economy and security, and not the result of questionable transactions,” Akbayan Chairman Emeritus and former Commission on Human Rights (CHR) Commissioner Etta Rosales said. 

Malacañang is yet to respond on the matter. MNP (with details from Harlene Delgado)

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