Alejano: China’s exploitation of Panatag prelude to reclamation plans
Magdalo party-list Rep. Gary Alejano on Wednesday condemned the extraction of giant clams by Chinese vessels in the Scarborough shoal, saying such activities were likely on order of the Chinese government as a prelude to its reclamation plans.
“While they are grabbing our islands, China is also destroying our seas and illegally exploiting the resources therein. Sobra-sobra na ang pambababoy nila sa ating mga karagatan,” he said in a statement.
The Otso Diretso senatorial candidate argued that the massive exploitation of resources in the Scarborough may be allowed or even ordered by the Chinese government as prelude to its reclamation plans in the West Philippine Sea.
“Previously, there have been US reports speculating the plan of China to reclaim the Scarborough Shoal which the Philippine military has also been warned of,” he said.
“It makes sense that China might be allowing or even directing its fishermen to exhaust all available marine resources in Scarborough since these would be destroyed anyway if China proceeds with the reclamation. It should be noted also that the extraction of giant clams are happening in the presence of Chinese Coast Guard,” the former Marine officer said.
Alejano also expressed his alarm about the impact of the illegal activities of China to the marine environment in the West Philippine Sea.
“It is not new to us how China is destroying the whole of South China Sea as it continue to reclaim islands. The arbitral ruling on Philippines vs China noted how the reclamation activities of China are destryong the coral beds and altering the marine environment,” he said.
“If this continues, nothing will be left for the Filipinos in the future. Naaapektuhan na nga ang huli ng ating nga mangingisda ngayon dahil sa pagsirang ginagawa ng China sa ating karagatan, mawawalan pa tayo ng mga likas na yaman sa darating na panahon,” Alejano said.
“We are being robbed today by China and we are also being robbed of a nation abundant with natural resources in the future,” the Magdalo lawmaker stressed.
Alejano called on the government to protest these illegal actions of China.
“China’s actions in the West Philippine Sea have long-term negative effects on our environment. The Philippine government should protest and demand from China to stop its illegal activities in our waters,” he said.
“China’s actions are not only an affront to our sovereignty, but also a proof of their continued disregard of their international obligations on protection of marine environment,” Alejano said.