5:26 am | Tuesday, April 22nd, 2014
MANILA, Philippines–The fisherfolk group Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas, or Pamalakaya, has assailed China for violating Philippine sovereignty by insisting that Ayungin Shoal (Second Thomas Reef) and eight other rock formations in the West Philippine Sea belong to Beijing.
Pamalakaya vice chair Salvador France yesterday asked the Chinese government to “respect the Filipino people’s legitimate claim over these islets and the body of water where they are located.”
He said the rock formations are inside the Philippines’ exclusive economic zone.
France also asked Beijing to “demilitarize Ayungin Shoal and other areas occupied by Chinese military forces.”
Chinese naval units “should also stop harassing Filipino fishermen trying to make a living in the West Philippine Sea,” France said.
Aside from Ayungin Shoal, France was also referring to Panatag (Scarborough) Shoal, Mischief Reef, McKennan Reef, Subi Reef, Gaven Reef, Johnson Reef, Cuarteron Reef and Fiery Cross Reef.
Pamalakaya also slammed the United States for “meddling in the current row between the Philippines and China.”
Washington has been “manipulating all South China Sea-related issues to effectively promote increased US military presence in the contested waters,” it said.
For its part, the Philippine government is “consistently playing to the hilt its role as the front-act person of the US in its own war with China over the South China Sea.” Jerry E. Esplanada
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