The National Youth Movement for West Philippine Sea (NYMWPS) is urging President Rodrigo Duterte to pursue the country’s protest against China and assert its irrefutable jurisdiction and territorial integrity over claimed islands in the disputed region.
NYMWPS Malta Country Chair John Michael Logronio said pursuing the Philippines’ diplomatic protest will also persuade the international community in backing up the United Nations (UN) Arbitral Tribunal’ recognition of its sovereign rights.
“Dapat sana magkaroon pa rin ng diplomatic protest kasi noong nanalo tayo against China ay mukhang napabayaan na. I mean, hindi naman napabayaan in a way, pero hindi na natin na-continue ‘yong protest na sana makakapag-engganyo ng international community or other countries na umanib sa atin,” Logronio said Friday last week.
He was in Puerto Princesa City for a donation and gift-giving activity for residents of Kalayaan municipality.
He said after the country won in the UN Arbitral Tribunal, it seemed to have kept a low profile in protesting China’s continued intrusion to construct fortified strongholds on some islands and reefs in the WPS.
These are Calderon Reef (Cuarteron Reef), Kagitingan Reef (Fiery Cross Reef), Burgos Reefs (Gaven Reefs), McKennan Reef (Hughes Reef), Panganiban Reef (Mischief Reef), and Zamora Reef (Subi Reef).
He said after winning its case, the Philippines should have strengthened its position, particularly with countries that are vocal in their opposition against China like the U.S.
“Sana after noong napanalunan natin ‘yan, sana ini-strengthen pa natin ‘yong coordination natin with, for example, with the US and other countries na alam natin na vocal against China. But what happened was the opposite. Pinalit natin dyan ‘yong investment na galing sa China,” he added.
He said this country’s move resulted in what is now a growing number of Chinese nationals in the Philippines doing jobs that are for Filipinos.
Logronio said although there is nothing wrong in having friendly trading ties with China, business and the issue of sovereignty should be treated separately.
“Wala namang masama to do business with China. Business is business, and sovereignty, pagdating sa usapang sovereignty, dapat hiwalay,” he pointed out.
The NYMWPS is in Palawan for a gift-giving activity to help island residents in Kalayaan municipality with medicines, other medical supplies, biscuits, and a keyboard, he said.
In the past, he said the NYMWPS donated musical instruments.
“Kasi kung titingnan natin, Kalayaan Island is a separate island so main concern talaga. Kunyari may magkakasakit doon at walang enough na gamot, anong mangyayari sa kanila? Kailangan talaga na ‘yan ang una nating pagtuunan ng pansin, mga medical needs ng mga kababayan natin doon,” he added.
The 2019 NYMWPS gift-giving is aligned with the theme “Kalayaan, Karapatan, Kapayapaan at Kapakanan Ng Sambayanang Pilipino sa West Philippine Sea.”