Palace downplaying China aggression in Ayungin Shoal alarms LP

By: - Reporter / @luisacabatoINQ
/ 09:22 PM June 22, 2024

The Liberal Party raised concerns over Palace statement that China’s recent aggression in Ayungin may have been a misunderstanding

This screengrab taken from a handout video filmed on June 17, 2024, and released by the Armed Forces of the Philippines-Public Affairs Office (AFP-PAO) on June 19 shows Chinese coast guard personnel (L,R) aboard their inflatable boats blocking Philippine Navy boats (C) during a confrontation at the Second Thomas Shoal in the South China Sea. ARMED FORCES OF THE PHILIPPINES-PUBLIC AFFAIRS OFFICE / AFP

MANILA, Philippines — The Liberal Party of the Philippines raised concerns on Saturday about Executive Secretary Lucas Bersamin’s statement that China’s recent aggression in Ayungin Shoal (Second Thomas) may have been a “misunderstanding or accident.”

In a statement, the group also emphasized that striking a balance between defending the country’s sovereignty while avoiding heightened tensions does not mean ignoring the Chinese Coast Guard’s (CCG) “illegal, aggressive, and even barbaric” actions in the West Philippine Sea.

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READ: China’s actions in Ayungin Shoal not an armed attack – Palace

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“Executive Secretary Lucas Bersamin’s statement is also worrying that he thinks it may have been a ‘misunderstanding’ or an ‘accident’. It is evident in the videos and pictures released by the AFP [Armed Forces of the Philippines] Public Affairs Office: The actions taken by the Chinese Coast Guard were aggressive and destructive. It is clear that our troops were put in danger and suffered humiliation in a humanitarian and resupply mission anyway,” the Liberal Party said.

“We must vigorously assert our sovereign rights and demand justice for the harassment and injuries inflicted upon our troops,” it added.

The group further condemned the recent incident in Ayungin Shoal, adding that they are in full support of the AFP.

“We stand in solidarity with our Armed Forces and its brave soldiers during this challenging time,” it said.

READ: Sailor whose thumb got cut off in Ayungin mission wants to return to duty

Last June 17, CCG vessels and a Philippine resupply ship on its way to BRP Sierra Madre in Ayungin Shoal got involved in a ramming incident, resulting in a Philippine Navy sailor’s severed thumb.

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Several other naval personnel also sustained minor injuries, the AFP reported.

The Liberal Party noted that the country can affirm its rights through legal procedures despite pressure from a much larger and more powerful country—methods that do not include “bowing down and curtailing” Filipino soldiers’ defense against attacks.

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“Our call: Do the right thing so as not to compromise the safety and dignity of our soldiers, and the sovereignty of our country! Fight for the honor of our armed forces and our people! The West Philippine Sea is ours!” the group said.

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TAGS: Ayungin Shoal, West Philippine Sea

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