THE House of Representatives has adopted House Resolution (HR) 1494, condemning China’s “illegal actions” in the West Philippine Sea and urging the government to uphold and defend sovereign rights over the nation’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ).
Following the adoption of the resolution last Wednesday, Speaker Ferdinand Martin G. Romualdez reaffirmed the House’s unwavering commitment to protecting the territorial integrity of the WPS.
HR 1494 consolidates six resolutions with the same topic: HRs 781, 823, 1169, 1201, 1204 and 1293.
“The House is committed to doing everything in its power to protect our rights in the WPS. We fully support our troops and our coast guard patrolling our exclusive economic zone against China’s vessels that turn away our fishermen with a legal right to fish in the WPS,” said Romualdez.
“We also commit to enhancing our defense posture in the WPS through legislation and by exercising Congress’s power of the purse,” he added.
The Philippine Coast Guard and Philippine Navy, he vowed, “will have whatever support [they] need.”
The resolution references the 2016 Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) ruling affirming the Philippines’ right over the WPS under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea.
The resolution highlights China’s continued illegal activities in the area, despite the PCA ruling, including the construction of artificial islands fortified with military installations and the militarization of these islands with advanced weaponry.
“In clear violation of the Arbitral Award, China has built artificial islands in various parts of the West Philippine Sea fortified with airstrips, military installations, hardware, and equipment and has militarized at least three of those artificial islands, arming them with anti-ship and anti-aircraft missile systems, laser and jamming equipment, and fighter jets,” the resolution read.
Despite the Philippines’ commitment to the Rule of Law, China persists in its aggressive actions, prompting the Philippines to resort to diplomatic tools, including filing over 400 diplomatic protests.
The resolution also listed various illegal activities by China, such as harassment, fishing moratorium imposition, unauthorized Marine Scientific Research activities, and the restriction of Filipino fishermen.
The resolution stressed the Philippines’ obligation to assert and fight for its rights in the WPS and to enhance its ability to patrol and protect its maritime zones by building a self-reliant defense posture program and upgrading the capabilities of the Philippine Coast Guard.
Image credits: Philippine Coast Guard via AP