NEW YORK - China’s threatened invasion of another Philippine territory in the West Philippine Sea was a hot topic during the Philippine Independence Day reception at the Philippine Consulate in New York.
Loida Nicolas Lewis, who heads the US Pinoys for Good Governance, had earlier said that a Philippine maritime surveillance vessel spotted 3 Chinese naval ships surrounding the Ayungin Reef in the Spratly Islands, which lies within the 200 mile exclusive economic zone of the Philippines.
“China said, all of this, 1 million square kilometers belong to us, that is where Ayungin Island is, which is the gateway to the Recto Bank. And Recto Bank is known to have 2 billion barrels of oil, several trillion cubic meters of natural gas," she said.
About a dozen Philippine Marines stationed at the BRP Sierra Madre stand guard at the Ayungin Reef, but Lewis cited that Chinese vessels established a blockade to prevent the Philippine Navy from sending personnel, food and supplies to the Philippine marine base there.
Off the coast of Florida, the second warship given by the US Navy to the Philippines successfully test-fired its main weapons system as it made its way to the Philippines. BRP Ramon Alcaraz’s Italian-made oto melara, a rapid-fire cannon shoots as many as eighty 76-millimeter rounds per minute.
Lawyer Merit Salud said two Philippine warships may be outnumbered by the Chinese vessels in the West Philippine Sea, but they’re more than enough to send a message.
“Of course, kayang pitikin ng China yan, pero we will earn the respect of the world, if we show the world that we are willing to shed blood for what we believe is right, for what we believe is ours,” Salud said.
Lewis is calling on Filipinos in the United States and in the Philippines to join the protests scheduled at the Chinese Embassy in New York and in the Philippines on July 24, to denounce China’s invasion of the West Philippine Sea.