Office of Rep. Gary Alejano
May 29, 2018
ALEJANO RESPONDS TO CAYETANO’S CHALLENGE:
PH lost effective control of Sandy Cay under Duterte admin
Secretary Cayetano should be reminded that China seized Sandy Cay during his and Duterte’s incumbency. Since August last year, Chinese coast guard vessels and militia fishing boats are stationed near Sandy Cay 24 hours a day, effectively seizing physical control of Sandy Cay. Every time Philippine government vessels patrol Sandy Cay, they are driven away by Chinese coast guard vessels. This could be likened to the situation in Scarborough Shoal in 2012 wherein our fishermen and military forces are prevented from approaching. Since then, China controlled the shoal.
Sandy Cay is part of the Pag-Asa Island network of sand bars and reefs which lies only over 4 nm from it. Sandy Cay is considered as a traditional rest and recreation area of inhabitants and visitors of Pag-Asa Island. Under our Baselines Law, RA 9522, Pag-Asa Island which includes Sandy Cay is part of the Philippine territory consistent to Article 121 of the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea.
Secretary Cayetano has announced publicly that he is not filing a protest against China’s seizure of Sandy Cay, which is definitely a Philippine land territory. This is an undeniable proof that Philippines lost effective control on an island during the incumbency of President Duterte and Secretary Cayetano. Worse, Secretary Cayetano has intentionally refused to protest this loss of Philippine territory to China.
Ang tanong ko kay Secretary Cayetano, iintayin pa ba natin na mawala na ang mga teritoryo natin bago tayo gumawa ng aksyon? Let us not wait for physical occupation of islands to happen. The Philippines is slowly losing effective control of our territory as China restricts the passage of our fishermen and challenges our military forces. Ang pagiging pabaya natin ngayon ay hinahayaan ang China na makontrol ang kabuuan ng West Philippine Sea. Huwag nating pagsinungalingan ang taumbayan at paniwalaing maayos ang sitwasyon sa West Philippine Sea dahil kabaligtaran ang nangyayari sa ibaba.
Sandy Cay is just one case. In a bigger picture, if our ability to patrol and supply our islands is slowly being diminished, then time will come China will have effective control of the whole West Philippine Sea. We would lose everything. Meanwhile, our government officials are being dined and wined by China and are promised with various concessions.