The Philippine Misereor Partnership Inc. on Thursday criticized China’s aggressive actions in the West Philippine Sea and its “non-recognition” of the international laws.
The expressed concern over the ecocide caused by China’s actions, particularly the destruction of coral reef ecosystems for reclamation activities and the extensive harvesting of threatened marine resources.
“China’s selfish and greedy actions have violated the ecosystem’s rights to flourish, persist, and provide needed services to people and other ocean species,” the group said.
PMPI said it was “stunned at the recent aggressive actions” of Beijing in the South China Sea. On Dec. 9 and 10, Chinese Coast Guard vessels used water cannons against Philippine vessels in Bajo de Masinloc and Ayungin Shoal.
“We are wary of China’s non-recognition of the decisions made under international law despite numerous countries recognizing that the Philippines has sovereign rights,” the group said.
According to the group, the longstanding dispute with China over sovereignty in the South China Sea has adversely affected fishing rights, resource exploration, and conservation efforts.
China’s construction of artificial islands and military installations has raised concerns about regional stability and freedom of navigation.
PMPI celebrated the 2016 ruling by the arbitral tribunal in favor of the Philippines but stressed the need for the government to assert sovereign rights actively and robustly.
Recently, President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. said the country is “exerting all efforts” amidst the intensified presence of China in the West Philippine Sea.
However, he also cautioned that the country needs to respond in a calibrated manner. “We have to be very careful not to overreact, to avoid making mistakes that could be misinterpreted by anyone,” he said.
PMPI urged Filipinos to support government initiatives aimed at preserving regional stability and defending the country’s claim in the West Philippine Sea.