President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. has sent a strong message to the Chinese government when he ordered the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) to cut the floating 300-meter buoys placed by the China Coast Guard (CCG) on Scarborough Shoal, according to De La Salle International Studies Professor Renato De Castro.
In a weekly news forum, De Castro stressed that the decisive action of President Marcos was telling the Chinese government about his strong political will to ensure food security for the Filipino people, especially for fishermen, and his independent foreign policy, which sent a chilling effect to China.
“Ano ba ‘yung pinapahiwatig natin lalo na sa ating foreign policy? Unang-una, pinapakita dito ‘yung decisiveness ng ating Presidente, na in a matter of few hours, he made a decision, despite of course the possibility that he would have an adverse reaction from the Chinese Coast Guard,” De Castro said.
“Pangalawa dito, ‘yung importansya na binibigay ng ating gobyerno sa ating food security … madaming nawawalan ng trabaho sa Zambales hindi makapasok ang ating mga mangingisda … part and parcel ng diet natin ang isda. Pangatlo, ang exercise ng tinatawag nating ‘independent foreign policy’,” he added.
De Castro explained that President Marcos, without consulting with the governments of the US, Japan, and Australia, displayed his independent foreign policy as he made the decision to confront the CCG’s “maritime expansionism”.
He also emphasized that President Marcos’ action was his way of showing the Chinese government how the administration would deal with their illegal activities in the West Philippine Sea and how to defend the country’s sovereign rights over the Philippine waters.
President Marcos is also implementing the July 12, 2016-ruling, which stated that the Scarborough Shoal is a “traditional fishing ground,” which means that everyone should have access to the area including China and nearby countries.
The professor believes that China can expect more decisive actions from President Marcos as he emphasized that the administration “will not stand by idly” if the CCG continues with its maritime expansion in the Philippine waters.
Citing the recent response of President Marcos as far as maritime issues in the West Philippine Sea are concerned, De Castro said that China was caught in surprise which is evident in the statements it released to the public.
He said the CCG has also designated a spokesperson similar to PCG spokesman for West Philippine Sea Commodore Jay Tarriela.
“Sa ngayon, medyo natataranta sila based dun sa mga pronouncement nila … nagulat sila dun sa desisyon ng ating Presidente. They never expect us to push back. So, sa ngayon, ang ginawa ng gobyerno ng China is trying to assure their public that they are still on top of the situation,” De Castro said.
“Tignan na lang natin kung ano ang next step na gagawin nila,” he added.
De Castro stressed that the decisive actions of President Marcos in dealing with the CCG in the West Philippine Sea are a welcome development for the Filipino people, especially for the affected fishermen as they are now allowed to fish in the Philippine waters. PND