Group urges solon to challenge Duterte’s ‘lackadaisical’ stance on China

MARIANAS — Representatives of National Youth Movement for the West Philippine Sea (NYMWPS) recently met with Magdalo Partylist Representative Gary Alejano to encourage him to challenge China’s incursions in the West Philippine Sea and the “lackadaisical stance” of the Duterte administration government in defending Philippine sovereignty.

In that meeting, members of the group has expressed concern over reports of the presence of Chinese vessels within Sandy Cay, an area in WPS which is within 12 nautical miles of Philippine territory.

NYMWPS, advocates the preservation of the country’s territorial sovereignty in the contested West Philippine Sea and expresses frustration that the Philippines is continuously losing marine territory.

China’s occupation of parts of the West Philippine Sea started 22 years ago when it illegally grabbed the Panganiban (or Mischief) Reef, an atoll surrounding a large lagoon in the Spratly Islands. It is located 250 kilometers west of Palawan.

China has done various reclamation activities in at least two locations on the rim of the atoll from 1995. In 2013, China reclaimed the area and created a large artificial island measuring 1,379 acres around most of the lagoon’s perimeter. The Philippines won its claim over the disputed territory through a 2016 tribunal ruling by the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague.