MANILA — A youth group on Monday urged President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. to defend the West Philippine Sea as he is set to visit China.
”Hinahamon namin si Presidente Marcos sa pagharap niya sa China ay ang pagtindig niya para sa karapatan ng mga Pilipino na malaya na mabuhay at maghanapbuhay sa West Philippine Sea,” said Justine Balane, secretary general of Akbayan Youth and member of the West PH Sea Coalition.
(We are challenging President Marcos to stand for our rights to freely live and earn a living on the West Philippine Sea as he faces China.)
Balane made the call a day before the 6th anniversary of the historic Hague ruling, where the Permanent Court of Arbitration ruled in favor of the Philippines on the disputed waters.
”Gusto natin na ipakita at sabihin niya direkta ang reversal ng 6 years of the failed and destructive policy ng Duterte administration na hinayaan ang bilyon-bilyong damages doon sa marine resources ng West Philippine Sea,” he added.
(We want him to directly reverse the 6 years of the failed and destructive policy of the Duterte administration that allowed billions of pesos worth of damages in the West Philippine Sea's marine resources.)
The group also said that the Marcos administration must assert the removal of illegal structures that China built in the West Philippine Sea, while also calling on the demilitarization of the area.
”Ang isang kailangan talaga ay itigil iyong mga harassment sa mga mangingisda at kilalanin yung freedom of navigation doon sa disputed waters. Praktikal iyon na makatutulong agaran sa libo-libong mangingisda na umaasa sa lugar na iyon,” said Benjamin Alvero from Sentro Youth, also a member of the coalition.
(We really need them to stop the harassment of our fisherfolk, and to recognize the freedom of navigation in the disputed waters. That would practically help thousands of fishers relying on that area for their livelihood.)
Marcos earlier said that under his administration, the Philippines will assert its claim over the West Philippine Sea while still continuing to pursue bilateral ties with China.