MANILA, Philippines—In another episode on the Philippine-China dispute over the areas in the West Philippine Sea, a militant group said that the water cannon incident at Panatag Shoal (Scarborough Shoal) is a “clear” act of aggressive behavior.
Akbayan picketed outside the Chinese Consular Office at the World Center in Makati Monday morning to protest Chinese claims on the Panatag Shoal and uphold Philippine claims on the disputed islands.
“They sent their maritime vessels in a territory which is an integral part of the Philippines,” Emman Hizon, deputy Secretary-General of Akbayan said.
“They did not only infringe Philippine sovereignty, but an act of aggression against Filipino fishermen who were only undertaking fishing activities for Philippine nationals.”
Hizon said that the water cannon incident was not only an act of “bullying,” but also a “clear act of aggression.”
He added that China is offering incentives to the Philippines to ease the dispute, like the pulling out of their ships and increasing business investments in the country.
“We are telling them the Philippine government that Philippine sovereignty is non-negotiable; we are not taking the incentives,” Hizon said.
According to Hizon, his group is supporting President Benigno Aquino III’s stand after the Chief Executive said that the key to the dispute would be through multilateral talks between the countries, which lay claim to the shoal.
“We believe the resolution to this dispute should be settled on a multilateral, pluralistic fashion and reject the offer of China for bilateral talks,” Hizon said.
China, the Philippines, Taiwan all lay claim to Panatag Shoal.
“You cannot talk to a bully in a bilateral way the only way is for smaller nations to band together and settle the dispute on a multilateral level.”
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