MANILA — Multisectoral groups led by Bagong Alyansang Makabayan (Bayan) trooped in front of the Chinese Consulate in Makita on Feb. 10 to denounce the continuing invasion of the West Philippine Sea.
China was reportedly building an airtstrip in the Philippine Rise, formerly known as Benham Rise. Progressive groups criticized the government for not protesting against the latest Chinese construction within Philippine territory. The progressive groups consider it as subservience to the Chinese government in exchange for a loan to the Philippine government.
“A foreign policy held hostage by foreign loans is not an independent foreign policy. It is a subservient foreign policy,” Bayan said in a statement.
“The Duterte regime has refused mounting calls to protest China’s military build-up in the disputed islands, relying instead on the non-existent ‘good faith’ of Duterte’s Chinese benefactors,” it added.
Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya-Pilipinas) also criticized President Duterte for neglecting the Philippine victory before an international tribunal. Pamalakaya chairperson Fernando Hicap said President Duterte had many opportunities to raise the issue to the Chinese government during several meetings.
“However, he consistently avoids the issue in the name of foreign investments,” Hicap added.
Bayan said the government’s reliance on loans for the country’s infrastructure program “has severely undermined our sovereign rights to these islands.”
“So while the Philippine government builds foreign-funded bridges and ports, it will be ceding our islands, waters and vast resources to China. It is an utterly shameful situation. It is a betrayal of national interest,” the group said in a statement.