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FIRING LINE: China bullies from East to West

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By Robert B. Roque, Jr.

This isn’t funny at all. China’s recent foray into Philippine waters, this time on the Pacific side way out of its super-stretched maritime territorial claims, is just despicable. It is plain and simple bullying that China sends its research vessels to the Philippine (Benham) Rise.

Beijing’s mouthpieces should quit hiding behind the ridiculous claim of a scientific expedition; they’re on a plundering spree, eyeing the resources of a third-world neighbor with greedy intent.

Cagayan de Oro Rep. Rufus Rodriguez is correct. This government of President Bongbong Marcos should be screaming its lungs out, making consistent protests not just on paper but in more concrete action.

Even the Chief Executive’s cousin, Speaker Ferdinand Martin G. Romualdez, rightly calls out these incursions as an attack on our country’s territorial integrity, a flagrant violation of Philippine sovereignty.

Hey, Chinese Embassy! The Philippine Rise is not up for grabs. Firing Line commends the Philippine Coast Guard for sending out patrols. Still, the world’s navies should also be concerned and worried because loose vessels of China trying to lord it over the Pacific side of the free and democratic Philippines is not solely the Filipinos’ burden to bear.

China may have retreated its vessels for now, based on the latest reports from the PCG, but the threat looms large. The Philippines must remain vigilant. China pulled off this stunt maliciously why the country’s President was on an official visit in Australia. That’s a middle finger to international law and decency.

And as if adding fuel to the fire, China further disrespects the Philippines by viciously attacking Filipino Navy officers with water cannons in the South China Sea. This despicable act, which left four officers injured, is a direct assault on Philippine sovereignty and an egregious violation of international law.

China’s audacity really knows no bounds, does it? China’s Coast Guard shamelessly attacked Filipino personnel conducting a routine resupply mission. This cowardly act demonstrates China’s complete disregard for diplomatic norms and underscores its aggressive and expansionist agenda in the region.

What’s troubling to swallow is that as Filipino-flagged vessels fend for themselves against China’s unwarranted aggression in the West Philippine Sea, the bigger community of nations surrounding the West Philippine Sea, from Japan and South Korea to ASEAN allies Vietnam, Malaysia, Singapore, and Indonesia, even Australia with all their powerful navies are kept at bay.

It’s a stark reminder of the constant threat posed by China to its neighbors. Yet, it chooses to make its thunder felt by slapping on Filipinos in their own territory so that every one of these nations, including America, knows who’s boss!

If the Philippines were Hawaii, this incident would not have gone unanswered. The international community would have stood united against China’s bullying.

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SHORT BURSTS. For comments or reactions, email or tweet @Side_View via X app (formerly Twitter). Read current and past issues of this column at

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