Party-list group Bayan Muna on Friday slammed the alleged installation of weapons by China on the artificial islands it has built on the West Philippine Sea, calling the act as "deplorable."
Bayan Muna Rep. Carlos Isagani Zarate said China's militarist activity in the West Philippine Sea "raises stakes for a potential regional dispute as US President-elect Donald Trump claimed he is ready to confront Beijing on territorial issues."
The reaction came after a report by the Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative on alleged weapons installation on the artificial islands.
"This is highly deplorable as it further militarizes an already militarized maritime zone," Zarate said.
"What is worse though is that this was done despite President Xi Jinping's pledge not to militarize the islands in the Spratly archipelago. Palalalain pa nito ang sitwasyon at dagdag pa ito sa mga hegemonic actions na ginagawa na ng US sa lugar," he added.
(This will worsen the situation and will add up to the hegemonic actions that the US is doing in the area.)
Zarate called on the international community to step in and pressure China to "de-escalate the situation in the West Philippine Sea and stop militarizing the area."
The party-list also urged President Rodrigo Duterte to "strengthen" the country's claims in the region.
"We also urge the administration of Pres. Rodrigo Duterte to initiate further diplomatic moves to strengthen our own claims and fortify our positions, even as we engage China in mutually beneficial bilateral or multilateral talks," he said.
China, however, has maintained that it has done nothing wrong and defended its "right" to install weapons.