Probe China's militarization of disputed waters: solon


Posted at May 21 2018 03:30 PM

Soldiers of China's People's Liberation Army (PLA) Navy patrol near a sign in the Spratly Islands (Nansha Islands) in this photo taken on February 9, 2016. Reuters

MANILA- A lawmaker on Monday urged the House of Representatives to call for a meeting of the National Security Council (NSC) in light of China's militarization efforts in the South China Sea.

House Committee on National Defense Vice Chair Rep. Ruffy Biazon said the NSC should be convened to "address the seeming escalation of military presence by China within Philippine EEZ (Exclusive Economic Zone)."

"This issue is beyond politics and involves a threat to national territorial integrity and security, and will affect the lives of not just the Filipinos of today but also those of future generations," he said.

Biazon made the statement following Beijing's deployment of long-range bombers on disputed islands in the South China Sea.

Former National Security Adviser Roilo Golez has also urged President Rodrigo Duterte to convene the NSC to assess how to handle the situation.

Earlier this month, China confirmed that it has installed missiles in the Spratly islands but maintained that the move "targets no one."

But the lawmaker said it is "urgent" for Manila to adopt a policy that will uphold the country's national interest.

"Such a policy is best crafted with the inputs from those who compose the National Security Council whose collective wisdom based on experience, expertise and diversity of opinion will ensure a balanced conclusion in favor of Philippine national interest,” he said.

Malacañang meanwhile said President Duterte does not see China's recent move as an "immediate threat."

Asked whether Duterte will heed Golez's suggestion to convene the NSC, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said: "It’s the President’s call. And right now, the President does not see any immediate threat.” 

“We don’t consider China to be a threat to our security right now because of our newfound friendship with China,” he added.

Duterte has maintained a soft stance on the Philippines' maritime dispute with China since assuming office.

He has repeatedly stressed that antagonizing China would not do Manila any good, as it cannot match the Asian superpower’s military power. -with a report from RG Cruz and Dharel Placido, ABS-CBN News