Esperon: PH to add five lighthouses and aerial vehicles in West Philippine Sea this year
Aileen Cerrudo • July 23, 2019 • 1487
National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon has reiterated their plan to construct five lighthouses and add aerial vehicles in West Philippine Sea this year.
“Our fisheries boats, coast guard ships and of course the navy and air force have strengthened [and] improved their capability to have more control over our domain which is the West Philippine Sea,” he said.
He also said that resolving the issue on the West Philippine Sea dispute through a diplomatic way is their priority.
“We have not abandoned any island, no island was taken from us since 2016, and we are strengthening our positions and possessions.”
Esperon also clarified the president’s statement when he said China is ‘in possession’ of some areas in the West Philippines.
“I think the President said—did not say that they are in possession, but they are in position,” he said. “So they have the positional advantage right now. And they have the equipment to enforce their position.”
However he agrees that China has strengthened their position in several disputed territories.—AAC (with reports from Harlene Delgado)
MANILA, Philippines— Cagayan de Oro Representative Rufus Rodriguez expressed concern that allowing the third telecommunication company, Dito Telecommunity Corporation, to construct cell sites in military camps would threaten national security.
Rodriguez noted that the firm is 40 percent owned by the Chinese.
“Can you imagine there will be Chinese allegedly employees of Dito who may be spies for China – where we have a conflict especially in the West Philippine Sea – entering our camps and being able to secure installations which should not be known by outside forces?” he said.
But Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said that Dito will only be allowed to construct cell sites within existing ones.
“Most camps actually in the Philippines already have cell towers of Globe and Smart,” Lorenzana explained.
“The contract for the Memorandum of Agreement that I signed or approved between the (the Armed Forces of the Philippines) and Dito is that, it will just be limited to those camps as well,” he added.
Rodriguez also opposed the Philippine government’s accommodation of Chinese contractors for the Sangley Airport project, the same Chinese contractors involved in the contractions of structures in the West Philippine Sea.
“The advice that we can give maybe to the President is to properly screen these companies before they can conduct business here.” Lorenzana noted.
“As I said a while ago, the President had already decided that they can continue their project here so all we can do now is to be very, very sure that their entering into our territory will not endanger our sovereignty,” he added.
Lorenzana also reminded that if the contract gets canceled, the Philippine government will be fined with a huge amount. MNP (with reports from Rey Pelayo)
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
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)
MANILA, Philippines – Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana has slammed China for calling on the Philippines to stop conducting “illegal provocations” in the West Philippine Sea.
In a statement, Lorenzana said it is China that should stop its illegal provocations in the disputed area, including its illegal occupation of territories that are within the Philippines’ exclusive economic zone (EEZ), as it has no right over the resource-rich region.
“That area is within our EEZ (Exclusive Economic Zone) the Chinese have no right to claim they are enforcing their laws since they are illegally occupying the country’s EEZ,” he said.
“Their so-called historical rights over an area enclosed by their 9-line doesn’t exist except in their imaginations,” he added.
China earlier urged the Philippines to stop its provocations, adding that sending planes over the air space of the disputed Spratly Group of Islands was an intrusion of China’s security and sovereignty.
Beijing issued the statement after Manila filed a diplomatic protest for China’s “continuing issuances of radio challenges [against] Philippine aircraft conducting legitimate regular maritime patrols in the West Philippine Sea.”
The Department of Foreign Affairs said it also filed the diplomatic protest after members of the Chinese Coast Guard allegedly confiscated the fish aggregating devices used by Filipino fishermen in Bajo de Masinloc in May.
Following the incident, the Philippines deployed military planes over the disputed area.
Bajo de Masinloc or Scarborough (Panatag) Shoal is a vital spawning ground for fish that lies over 100 nautical miles from the coast of Masinloc, Zambales.
It is among the areas in the South China Sea being claimed by China, including waters within the exclusive economic zones of Malaysia, Brunei, Malaysia, Vietnam, the Philippines and Taiwan.
In 2016, the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hage rules that under the United Nations Convention of the Law of the Sea, the Bajo de Masinloc is a common fishing ground and that China’s claims over the strategic body of water are not valid. – RRD (with details from Correspondent Lea Ylagan)
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