By Wilnard Bacelonia

DESPICABLE BEHAVIOR. Philippine Navy soldiers and essential cargoes are transferred from Unaizah on May 4 and BRP Cabra to BRP Sierra Madre off Ayungin Shoal after a cannon attack by the Chinese Coast Guard on March 23, 2024. Senators on Monday (June 3, 2024) condemned the continuing harassment and provocations of the CCG against Philippine vessels at the WPS as “despicable and callous.” (Photo courtesy of AFP)

MANILA – Senators on Monday condemned the China Coast Guard (CCG) for its seizure and dumping of food supplies meant for Philippine soldiers in Ayungin Shoal, as well as preventing a medical evacuation of injured soldiers in separate incidents in the West Philippine Sea (WPS) on May 19.

Senate Deputy Minority Leader Risa Hontiveros said the incidents showed China’s disregard for valuable resources and disrespect for human life.

Kasuklam-suklam rin ang pagharang nila sa serbisyong medikal ng mga sundalo (Their obstruction of the soldiers’ medical services is also despicable) and callous,” Hontiveros said in a statement.

Wala na nga silang respeto sa soberanya ng Pilipinas, wala pang pinapakitang respeto sa kapwa nila tao (Apart from having no respect for the sovereignty of the Philippines, they have also shown no respect for their fellow human beings),” she added.

Senator Ramon “Bong” Revilla also denounced China’s harassment activities as “inhumane.”

Pwede pa nga yang (It can even be qualified as) piracy in the sea,” Revilla said in a separate statement.

He noted that President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. has clearly articulated the country’s position in the WPS during the recently concluded 21st International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore.

“We will not cede any inch of our territory and territorial rights, and we are taking notice of the bullying and provocations against our countrymen and our nation,” Revilla said.

Meanwhile, Senator Nancy Binay emphasized the violation of basic principles of humane treatment and international norms.

“Be it in times of war or in peace, it is imperative that all nations uphold the principles of empathy, compassion, and respect for human life as enshrined in the Geneva Convention,” Binay said in another statement.

She said the Philippines is prepared to raise the issue at international forums to seek justice and protect its citizens’ rights.

Senator Sonny Angara also urged China to show restraint and not obstruct regular and non-hostile activities of Philippine personnel, including essential resupply and medical missions.

“This act from the CCG endangers the lives of our Filipino troops stationed at the Ayungin Shoal and could be deemed as a violation of their human rights,” Angara said in a statement, stressing that the Philippines has not provoked the CCG in the same manner.

Angara said disputes should be resolved “diplomatically and lawfully.”

Senator Joel Villanueva, during a press briefing, reiterated that China’s narratives are “ridiculous” and their claims are “unfounded.”

“I admire what the President mentioned, marami siyang ginamit na (he used several) adjectives but I like the word ‘deceptive’ because that’s what China has been doing for quite some time,” Villanueva said. (PNA)