Duterte's theatrics can't cover-up his treachery—CPP

The Communist Party of the Philippines (CPP) yesterday dismissed the hype of a Chinese naval ship moving out of Philippine waters after being called out by a Philippine Coast Guard ship last July 13. In a recorded message, Duterte pointed out to the event to make it appear that China is being friendly and respecting the country’s territorial waters.

CPP Chief Information Officer Marco Valbuena said Duterte was “making a big drama” of the incident. It is likely a “script” that Duterte and China came up with “to obscure a bit Duterte’s image of a Chinese stooge.”

The Coast Guard reported that its vessel BRP Cabra drove away Chinese warship 189 from an area some 147 nautical miles off El Nido, Palawan.

Valbuena said playing-up the incident “intends to downplay international news reports of Filipino fishermen from Masinloc being prevented from fishing in the Scarborough Shoals (Bajo de Masinloc).”

Fishermen from Masinloc, Zambales told the BBC News that they are being driven out of their traditional fishing grounds in the Scarborough Shoals. As a result, their catch decreased by 70% because the government refuses to stand up to Chinese incursions. Last week, Malacañang dismissed the news reports and downplayed the Masinloc fishermen’s claims.

Valbuena added that by playing up the incident, Duterte aims to cover up the fact that at least 200 Chinese sea vessels continue to swarm Philippine exclusive waters. “What is driving away one naval ship, when hundreds of militia vessels and commercial fishing boats remain in the Philippine EEZ?”

Earlier this month, US-based geospatial firm Simularity also reported that Chinese ships are dumping human waste on Philippine reefs causing environmental harm.

“What does the work of the Philippine Coast Guard and Navy amount to when Duterte continues to bow to China, which refuses to respect the internationally recognized Philippine territorial waters under the United Nations Convention on the Laws of the Seas (UNCLOS),” Valbuena said.

Last week, China renounced as a piece of “waste paper” the 2016 decision of the International Arbitral Tribunal (IAT) which set dismissed China’s 9-dash claims and recognized the marine features and islands within the Philippine EEZ and extended continental shelf. The IAT also recognized the Scarborough Shoals as a shared resource and traditional fishing grounds which no country can claim exclusive rights over.

In the past five years, the erosion of the country’s national sovereignty is unprecedented. Under Duterte, China has been allowed to encroach on the Philippines’ territorial waters, build artificial islands to establish and expand its military facilities and claim the surrounding waters and its resources.

Duterte's theatrics can't cover-up his treachery—CPP