MANILA – The House of Representatives on Wednesday adopted a resolution strongly condemning China's "illegal actions" in the West Philippine Sea.
House Resolution 1494, which also urges the Philippine government to assert and protect the country's sovereign rights over its exclusive economic zone (EEZ) and continental shelf in accordance with the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) and the 2016 ruling of the Permanent Court of Arbitration, was approved during the plenary session.
The resolution said that despite the country's arbitration victory over China's territorial claims in the West Philippine Sea, China has continued its harassment of Philippine vessels in Philippine territory.
"The Philippines, being a firm believer and advocate of the Rule of Law, and despite the continued harassment of China, has resorted to diplomatic tools to address Chinese aggression, including the filing of over 400 diplomatic protests against the latter, the subject of which mostly include the illegal presence and illegal activities of Chinese fishing, maritime militia, law enforcement, and military vessels in the West Philippine Sea," the resolution read.
According to the resolution, among the illegal activities of China include harassment, shadowing, blocking, dangerous maneuvers, and radio challenges; unilateral imposition of a fishing moratorium; unauthorized conduct of marine scientific research activities; incessant and unlawful restriction of Filipino fishermen from conducting legitimate fishing activities in Bajo de Masinloc; and harassment of Philippine boats in Ayungin Shoal.
It further noted that China's actions against the Philippines' routine and regular rotation and resupply (RORE) missions to the BRP Sierra Madre in Ayungin Shoal have become "more dangerous".
These incidents include using military-grade laser lights at the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) vessel last February; using water cannons toward Philippine resupply ships last August; and the blocking of a RORE mission which led to a collision between Chinese Coast Guard Ship (CCG) and a contracted Filipino resupply boat last October.
"The Philippines should continue to assert and fight for its rights in the West Philippine Sea and uphold and implement its hard-earned victory at the Permanent Court of Arbitration at the Hague, the Netherlands," the resolution said.
It stressed that the Philippine government must strengthen its ability to patrol and protect the country's maritime zones by building a self-reliant defense posture program and upgrading the capabilities of the PCG.
"In order to have a credible defense posture and a capable PCG, the government must boost the funds allocated to our armed troops and our civilian maritime patrol forces," the resolution added. (PNA)