The Trade Union Congress of the Philippines (TUCP) echoes the National Task Force for the West Philippine Sea’s condemnation to the highest degree of the “provocative, irresponsible, and illegal” aggression by the China Coast Guard and Chinese maritime militia that led to the twin collision incidents, endangering the lives of Filipino crew on board Philippine Coast Guard supply ship.
We view this not only as aggression targeted at our Coast Guard but as an affront to each Filipino because at the heart of this act is violation of our national sovereignty. The defense of what is truly ours. We cannot forever play a cat-and-mouse game in the West Philippine Sea because our subservience will cost the lives and livelihood of our kababayan. We lost trillions to damaged coral reefs and lost hundreds of thousands of kilos of fish to Chinese maritime militia that are rivaling and exceeding the catch of our very own fisherfolk, jeopardizing our prosperity and food security.
The TUCP lauds the crisis leadership of President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. for immediately calling a Command Conference the day after the incidents to initiate the probe on these “dangerous, illegal, and reckless maneuvers” in our very own exclusive economic zone. The President is leading from the front our whole-of-society response reciprocated by House of Representatives Speaker Ferdinand Martin G. Romualdez who addressed the intelligence needs of the Government by ensuring that every centavo of public funds are spent with full accountability and transparency to the issues that matter—State defense, Philippine sovereignty, and national survival.
The TUCP calls on the nations of the world to work hand in hand towards an effective Code of Conduct in the West Philippine Sea to calm the tensions, end the brinkmanship, and promote regional understanding and cooperation. Ultimately, the West Philippine Sea should be the sea of peace and prosperity for freedom of navigation and mutually beneficial global cooperation and trade between our nations and our respective peoples.