Anakpawis: Exercise freedom of navigation at West Philippine Sea

MILITANT group Anakpawis is calling for the exercise of freedom of navigation at the West Philippine Sea.

This, following the recent incident between the Chinese Coast Guard and the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) in Panatag Shoal.

The organization Anakpawis calls on countries to exercise freedom of navigation in the contested waters and challenge China’s “imperialist claim and aggression” over the almost entire South China Sea.

“We are calling on every country, claimants and non-claimants, to exercise freedom of navigation in the South China Sea, and ultimately challenge China’s illegal claims over the international waters,” Ariel Casilao, Anakpawis Party-list national president, said.

The group’s statement came after the close naval maneuvering of the Chinese Coast Guard against a patrolling PCG vessel in Panatag Shoal, and China’s warning not to sail in what they call their “inherent territory.”

“China should be reminded that every country has the right to sail and conduct their respective businesses in the South China Sea in principle of freedom of navigation and in accordance with the international law of the seas. No country, not especially China can solely claim the established international waters,” Casilao added.

For its part, fishers’ group Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya) asserts that China should “recognize and respect the fishing rights of Filipino fisherfolks in the West Philippine Sea.”

“Being the front-line casualties of China’s military annexation in our territorial waters, we support any call for recognition and exercise of freedom of navigation, especially right to fish in the West Philippine Sea,” Ronnel Arambulo, Pamalakaya national spokesperson, said.

Anakpawis said it is estimated that more than $5 trillion worth of global ships from different countries passes each year in the South China Sea.


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