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EDITORIAL: Sovereign Stand

PRESIDENT Marcos has characterized the latest incident at Ayungin Shoal as a “deliberate and illegal action” by Chinese forces, marking yet another chapter in the ongoing struggle over the West Philippine Sea.

While no shots were fired, the boarding of a Philippine vessel and the confiscation of equipment by Chinese personnel represent a blatant challenge to Philippine sovereignty.

Marcos underscored the need for more robust responses beyond the usual diplomatic protests. He highlighted that simply summoning ambassadors and expressing disapproval is insufficient.

The Philippines must adopt a more proactive stance to defend its territorial integrity and uphold international law.

The recent collision between a Chinese ship and a Philippine vessel, which resulted in a severe injury to a Filipino Navy member, underscores the escalating tensions in the region.

The Department of Foreign Affairs, the Pentagon, and other nations have condemned the incident, reflecting global concern over China’s aggressive maneuvers.

Defense Secretary Gilberto Teodoro Jr. rightly described the incident as an “aggressive and illegal use of force.”

Despite initial conflicting statements, President Marcos clarified that further investigation confirmed the incident was not a misunderstanding but a deliberate obstruction of a legitimate mission.

The Ayungin Shoal, home to the BRP Sierra Madre and its contingent of Marines and sailors, symbolizes Philippine sovereignty. Positioned within the country’s 200-mile exclusive economic zone, Ayungin Shoal is a critical point of national pride and strategic importance.

Despite China’s sweeping claims over the South China Sea, the 2016 ruling by the Permanent Court of Arbitration unequivocally favored the Philippines, invalidating China’s expansive nine-dash line claim.

Yet, China remains defiant, refusing to recognize the court’s decision. This stance not only undermines international law but also threatens regional stability and the sovereignty of neighboring nations.

The Philippines, therefore, faces a crucial moment. It must galvanize international support, leverage diplomatic channels, and reinforce its military capabilities to safeguard its territorial waters.

The nation’s resolve in defending Ayungin Shoal will serve as a proof to its commitment to sovereignty and the rule of law in the face of persistent and provocative challenges.


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