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Zubiri urges Marcos to send Chinese envoy home

Following yet another use of a water cannon by Chinese vessels against Philippine vessels conducting a resupply mission to the BRP Sierra Madre, Senate President Juan Miguel Zubiri on Sunday called on President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. to send Chinese Ambassador Huang Xilian back to China.

Zubiri sought the ambassador's expulsion after the China Coast Guard’s (CCG) consecutive actions against Philippine vessels over the weekend, first in the Scarborough Shoal, and now in the Ayungin Shoal.

“I urge President Ferdinand ‘Bongbong’ Marcos Jr. to send the current Chinese Ambassador home. He has done nothing to address the continued attacks of his government on our troops and on our people,” the Senate President said in a statement.

On Sunday morning, the CCG water cannoned Philippine vessels on a routine resupply and rotation mission to the BRP Sierra Madre stationed at the Ayungin Shoal.

It caused severe damage to M/L Kalayaan’s engines and damage to BRP Cabra’s mast and endangered the lives of the crews.

Zubiri denounced the incident, adding that China had “no heart.”

“I strongly condemn the latest attack of Chinese ships on Philippine government vessels in the West Philippine Sea,” he said.

“This was a humanitarian mission, and still China chose to attack them. THEY HAVE NO HEART. They have gone from unlawfully blocking us from navigating our own waters to now deliberately damaging our vessels and endangering the lives of our people,” he added.

The National Task Force-West Philippine Sea (NTF-WPS) also condemned China’s latest actions, admitting that it has put into question and “significant doubt” the sincerity of China’s calls for peaceful dialogue.

On Saturday, the CCG also fired a water cannon at Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) vessels sailing for the Scarborough Shoal to distribute oil and other supplies to fisherfolk in the area.

Senator Joel Villanueva, meanwhile, said that might did not give China the right to fire water cannons and perform dangerous maneuvers against Philippine vessels, or block the country’s humanitarian missions.

“Kahit gaano pa karaming armas at kalaking barko ang iharang ng China, hindi magbabago ang katotohanan na ang pinaglalabanang teritoryo ay sa Pilipino,” he said in a statement, urging China to adhere to the international laws and stop encroaching into the Philippines' exclusive economic zone.

(No matter how many weapons and how big the ships China uses, the fact that the contested territory belongs to the Philippines will not change.) — DVM, GMA Integrated News