Press Release
February 2, 2021


We should not be lulled into complacency by the Chinese Embassy trying to pass off China's new Coast Guard law as harmless. It is not; particularly for countries with competing claims in the South China Sea. While China can pass any law it wants, these laws cannot be used in ways that violate UNCLOS and international law.

This is an unfortunate provocation, considering that China is militarizing its Coast Guard, which is supposed to be a civilian institution, while making implied claims through its baseless nine-dash line that its sovereignty and jurisdiction extends to the West Philippine Sea. Walang basehan ang nine-dash line ng Tsina kaya walang basehan din ang pag-angkin nila ng mga teritoryo.

This unfounded claim of sovereignty over the entire South China Sea is illegal. China's Coast Guard, deemed the largest in the world, can take military action disguised as enforcement of their maritime laws anywhere within this nine-dash line that has long been invalidated by international law. Again, this violates the Philippines' rights under the UNCLOS.

The refusal of Chinese vessel Jia Geng to submit to search within our territorial sea is also a violation of our rights under the UNCLOS. Wala na ngang pahintulot ang Jia Geng sa gobyerno natin, hindi pa pinayagan ang Philippine Coast Guard mag-inspect dahil umano sa COVID-19 protocols. Inside our territorial sea, we have an unambiguous right to board and inspect. Kung COVID-19 protocols ang pag-uusapan, our law applies, not China's.

If the Chinese Embassy sincerely wants to reassure us that it is not violating international law, China should, once and for all, waive its belief of the nine-dash line, a historical claim with no legal basis. China should also cease all provocations in the WPS and in Philippine territorial waters, such as by allowing Chinese vessels to be boarded for inspection by our own Coast Guard.

We should already be preparing for a more aggressive Beijing. Wala pa nga ang Coast Guard Law, todo na ang panghihimasok ng Tsina. Paano pa lalo ngayon? This law, and the posturing that comes with it, is injurious to the interest of Filipinos.

Nasa tama tayong mga Pilipino, kaya nasa panig natin ang katotohanang atin at atin lang ang WPS. Nakasalalay sa katotohanang ito ang kapayapaan at seguridad hindi lang ng Pilipinas, pati na rin ng ating mga karatig bansa.

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