Amid the presence of Chinese vessels in waters off Pag-asa Island, Senator Richard J. Gordon hits out at China, saying its actions do not demonstrate the actions of a friend.
“If we do not have a strong Navy, if we do not have a strong Army, we will be pushed around by other countries. Dapat malakas ang Armed Forces natin para igalang tayo ng China. Sabi ng China kaibigan natin sila, pero a friend does not send hundreds of army, hundreds of navy, does not send hundreds of vessels to harrass our fishermen in our territory. I’m glad that Sec. Locsin (Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin) already filed a diplomatic protest. ” he said during the Commemoration of the 77th Araw ng Kagitingan and Philippine Veterans Week held at Fort Bonifacio last Friday.
The senator was the guest of honor and speaker at the said event. His father, former Olongapo City Mayor James Leonard Tagle Gordon, was given a post-humous award as one of the heroes of World War II. He was assigned as a junior officer under the Intelligence Staff engaged in intelligence gathering and monitoring the Province of Zambales. He had the rank of a first lieutenant and joined the resistance on November 1, 1943.
Gordon pointed out that he fought to have 13 percent of the proceeds from TRAIN 1 allocated for the military, on top of the budget from the Bases Conversion and Development Authority, to ensure that soldiers will not go to war without the proper equipment.
“It is the military’s duty to protect the integrity of our territory and to protect our country but they would not be capable of doing that without the right equipment. Let us remind our leaders to learn from history. We should follow Japan’s motto – Enrich the country, strengthen the military,” he said.
About 275 Chinese vessels were spotted near and around Pag-asa, which China calls Zhongye, from January to March this year, according to the Philippine military. China said the vessels are civilian ships, mostly fishing boats.
The Department of Foreign Affairs said a diplomatic protest against China’s massive presence in Pag-asa was filed last March 29. PNA