Senate Majority Floor Leader, Senator Joel Villanueva

MANILA—Senator Joel Villanueva lauds the efforts of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and the Philippine Coast Guard for a successful resupply mission in the Ayungin Shoal despite continuous harassment from China.

In a statement his office released on Saturday, the senator said the actions of the front liner troops protecting our shores indicates our country’s strong position in defending our shores from foreign aggression. 

“This is a clear indication that the Philippine government is firm on asserting its position that will protect our sovereignty and sovereign rights”. 

According to the seantor, they have passed a resolution in Senate creating the Special Committee on Philippine Maritime and Admiralty Zones that will discuss Maritime Zone bills and the Archipelagic Sea Lanes bills which are included in the Philippine Development Plan 2023-2028. These bills will strengthen our position in accordance with the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).

“We have also filed Senate Bill No. 2307 or the Philippine Coast Guard Modernization Act to support the PCG in strengthening our maritime presence by modernizing their equipment and further capacitating our PCG personnel,” he said. 

“Ang usapin tungkol sa West Philippine Sea (WPS) ay hindi lamang po tungkol sa ating pagmamay-ari. Ito po ay ang pagpapakita ng tapang ng bawat Pilipino na kaya nating manindigan para sa ating mga karapatan laban sa isang bully,” he added. 

In a press statement on Friday by the National Security Council, it said that the “National Task Force on the West Philippine Sea (NTF-WPS) reported that on the morning of that day, the Western Command of the AFP, assisted by the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) successfully resupplied the BRP Sierra Madre (LS 57), stationed at Ayungin Shoal in the West Philippine Sea”. 

“The Task Force is already informed that the harrassment l, dangerous maneuvers and aggressive conduct of the vessels of the China Coast Guard (CCG) and Chinese Maritime Militia (CMM) against our public vessels took place again during the conduct maritime and regular operations well within our nation’s Executive Economic Zone (EEZ)”. 

“We reiterate and emphasize that these operations are pursuant to our Government’s legitimate exercise of its administrative functions and jurisdictions over the West Philippine Sea, firmly endorses in the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) and the final and binding 2016 Arbitral Award”.

“The Tasf Force strongly deplores and condemns the continued illegal, aggressive and destabilizong conduct of the CCG and the CMM within our nation’s EEZ”. 

“We reiterate what President Ferdinand Marcos said during the recently concluded 43rd ASEAN Summit regarding the South China Sea— that ‘Practical cooperation in the maritime domain can only flourish with an enabling environment of regional peace, securit and stability anchored in international law’.’

“We call on all to do their part in ensuring a peaceful and rules-based international order in the oceans”.