PBBM initiates ‘countermeasure package to China’s actions in WPS

President BongBong Marcos (PBBM) has ordered the implementation of a “response and countermeasure package” in the face of China’s continued aggression in the West Philippine Sea (WPS).

In a statement recently released on social media, Marcos said he has met with the country’s security and defense officials in the past few days following the water cannon attack of China Coast Guard (CCG) and Chinese Maritime Militia on a Philippine supply vessel in the Ayungin Shoal area that injured three crew members.

PBBM said he has been in “constant communication” with representatives of the country’s allies, partners, and friends in the international community relative to WPS developments.

“They have offered to help us on what the Philippines requires to protect and secure our Sovereignty, sovereign rights, and jurisdiction while ensuring peace and stability in the Indo-Pacific,” Marcos stressed. “I have given them our requirements and we have been assured that they will be addressed,” he added.

According to the President, the “response and countermeasure package” he ordered will be implemented by national government agencies and instrumentalities over the succeeding weeks.

He gave no specifics of the countermeasure response  package but he described it as “proportionate, deliberate, and reasonable in the face of the open, coercive, aggressive, illegal dangerous attacks” of China.

“We seek no conflict with any nation, more so nations that purport and claim to be our friends but we will not be cowed into silence, submission, or subservience. Filipinos do not simply, yield,” he stressed.

At least three Navy personnel aboard the Unaizah May 4 (UM4) were injured over the weekend after the two vessels of the CCG water cannoned the UM4 carrying supplies for the Filipino troops stationed at the BRP Sierra Madre, the grounded ship that serves as the country’s outpost in Ayungin Shoal.

The UM4 sustained heavy damaged after the incident, according to the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP).

The Department of Foreign Affairs has summoned the Charge d’affaires of the Chinese Embassy to convey the Philippines’ strong protest over the incident, the second time this month that Filipino crew members were injured in a confrontation between Chinese and Philippine ships in the disputed sea territory.

Twenty one (21) countries have also expressed support to the Philippines as they condemned China’s aggression in the West Philippine Sea and called for restraint and adherence to the 1982 Law of the Sea Convention and the 2016 Arbitral decision.

China claims virtually the entire South China Sea, and maritime features in the West Philippine Sea that are well within the country’s exclusive economic zone.

In 2016, the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague ruled to dismiss China’s sweeping alleged historical claims to the waterway, but todate, Beijing has refused to acknowledge the ruling. (With PNA)