In a courageous act on Saturday, the Philippine Coast Guard escorted charter boats laden with essential supplies for our valiant military personnel stationed at Second Thomas Shoal, situated within our nation’s maritime domain in the Spratly Islands.
Despite China’s unfounded claims over almost all of the South China Sea — claims which were categorically rebuked by a 2016 international court ruling — our military and coast guard have once again stood firm against Beijing’s aggressive tactics.
China’s Coast Guard, contravening international law, audaciously fired water cannons at our peaceful re-supply mission, preventing one of the charter boats from completing its noble task. Beijing attempted to justify their hostility, claiming the boats had “illegally” entered their waters.
The country rallied behind our Secretary of Foreign Affairs, who promptly summoned Ambassador Huang, presenting undeniable evidence, including pictures and videos, of the unwarranted Chinese aggression. As a sovereign nation, we assert our rightful claim, emphasizing that the waters are indeed Filipino.
The international community also echoed our sentiments. The US State Department voiced its condemnation against the provocative actions of China’s coast guard and “maritime militia”. These acts, they stated, threaten the peace and stability of the entire region. Our stand also garnered support from Britain, Australia, Canada, and the European Union, who openly criticized Beijing.
It’s important to highlight that the Second Thomas Shoal is undeniably closer to the Philippine island of Palawan, a mere 200 kilometers away, in stark contrast to the 1,000 kilometers distance from China’s Hainan island. Manila continues to report China’s habitual unwarranted patrolling and shadowing of our ships in our own territorial waters.
Notably, this isn’t the first time Beijing has resorted to such tactics. Saturday’s event recalls the incident from November 2021, where the Chinese coast guard employed similar water cannon tactics against our resupply missions.
Though the Philippines and China have a historical record of maritime disagreements in the South China Sea, our new leadership remains unwavering in asserting our rights. As opposed to previous administration’s hesitant approach, President Marcos has resolutely vowed not to let China undermine our nation’s maritime sovereignty. Strengthening ties with the United States, our former colonial ruler and trusted ally, the Philippines is strategically fortifying its defense against any threat.
Defend the Filipino pride. Stand for what’s rightfully ours.