President Benigno Aquino III has disclosed that the Philippine government has asked US to deploy P3C Orion spy planes, land-based maritime surveillance and anti-submarine aircrafts over the disputed sea.
By MARYA SALAMAT
MANILA – Amid reports that several US spy planes and a warship are patrolling Philippine seas in the guise of military aid and protection, Kabataan Partylist Rep. Terry Ridon said the activities being conducted by the US military constitute “serious breaches in the country’s national sovereignty” and should be immediately investigated by Congress.
“First, US troops conduct joint military exercises in the country. Next, they dump toxic wastes in Subic and damage Tubbataha Reef nonchalantly. Then the US goes and asks for access in our naval bases. Now, their warships and spy planes are patrolling our seas! The last time I checked, the Philippines is not part of US territory, yet the US military is acting as if we’ve already been annexed to the US,” Ridon exclaimed.
The Department of Foreign Affairs has earlier confirmed that US Navy surveillance planes are conducting routine maritime patrol in the contested areas of the West Philippine Sea. President Benigno Aquino III has disclosed that the Philippine government has asked US to deploy P3C Orion spy planes, land-based maritime surveillance and anti-submarine aircrafts over the disputed sea.
Meanwhile, the US Navy has also confirmed reports that USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD6), a forward-deployed amphibious assault ship, has been patrolling the Philippine Sea since July 1. According to the US Navy’s official blog, USS Bonhomme carries “more than 100 vehicles and 300 pieces of equipment” which include ground, aviation, logistics, and command combat elements.
“These revelations may constitute serious breaches in both local and international law and severely lambasts our national sovereignty. Even citing the Visiting Forces Agreement as justification would be a stretch,” Ridon said.
The youth solon suspects that the US military is exploiting the growing tension in the Philippine Sea to deploy spy planes and warships here. “In the guise of protecting the Philippine claim over the disputed shoals and reefs, the US military may in fact be surveying the area to assess the value of its oil and mineral reserves which their country surely has interest in,” Ridon explained.
“While there is a need for us to strengthen our hold over territories that China has systematically grabbed from us, we should be wary of other foreign countries intervening in the conflict, particularly the US – a country that has aggressively pursued economic and political supremacy in Asia-Pacific in recent years,” Ridon said.
The youth legislator said he will file a resolution directing Congress to investigate the “illegal entry” of the warship and the drones of the US military.
“We need to ascertain exactly how many US vessels are currently in our territory, as what we know at present are from reports confirmed by the Aquino government and the US military. There may be more unreported planes and ships lurking in our waters and skies,” Ridon said.
The Kabataan Party Rep urged the public not to let this issue to pass unnoticed. “This is our national sovereignty being trampled right under our noses. Foreign military operations in our seas and skies, even in the guise of support, should be condemned rather than tolerated,” Ridon said.