Senator Christopher “Bong” Go, vice chairperson of the Senate National Defense Committee, stressed in an interview on Tuesday, September 26, the need to protect the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the Philippines in light of the removal of a Chinese-installed floating barrier at Scarborough Shoal.
“My previous position d’yan, kung ano po ang atin ay atin. What is ours is ours. Ipaglaban po natin kung ano po ang atin,” Go declared.
For years, the Scarborough Shoal, located 200 kilometers away from the Philippines, has been a contentious area due to disputes over territorial claims and fishing rights. It is administered as a political subdivision of Zambales province.
Recently, the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) carried out a special operation to dismantle the floating barrier that had been hindering Filipino fishermen.
“Trabaho po ‘yun ng ating mga nasa gobyerno, sa Executive Department, DFA, PCG. I’m sure alam nila ang kanilang ginagawa,” Go said, expressing confidence in the government’s actions.
Go also addressed the issue of barriers that had been removed but were still causing concerns.
“Na-clear na ba? Dapat lang. Kung ano nga po ang atin ay atin ‘yun, ‘wag nating hayaang nakaharang d’yan ang mga barriers. Kung agrabyado naman tayo, kung ano nga po ang atin, ipaglaban po natin. What is ours is ours,” he emphasized.
Eliminating the barrier has heightened tensions between the Philippines and China, with the latter asserting ownership of more than 90% of the commonly referred to as ‘South China Sea’.
Go also expressed support for President Ferdinand Marcos, Jr.’s order to remove the barrier.
Previously, Go criticized the series of reported harassments by China particularly in the disputed waters of Ayungin Shoal. He elaborated on the need for a unified stance to protect the country’s rights and rightful claims to its territories and Exclusive Economic Zone.
“Dapat po ay respetuhin ang ating karapatan. Kung ano ang karapatan natin na mag-resupply tayo, atin po ‘yon, karapatan po natin ‘yun. Ipaglaban po natin ang ating karapatan,” Go reiterated.
On September 8, the Philippine Coast Guard faced interference from the China Coast Guard while navigating to Ayungin Shoal, yet successfully executed their resupply mission.
This episode adds to a pattern of maritime tensions, including a prior incident where a Chinese vessel deployed water cannons against a Philippine military ship and another involving the use of a military-grade laser against a Philippine Coast Guard vessel.
Image credits: Bibo Nueva España/Senate PRIB