MANILA, Philippines – “Can you call the giant taking away the fish of a small child a victim?”
Department of National Defense (DND) spokesman Peter Galvez gave the analogy even as he called on the Chinese government to stop twisting the truth and playing the victim in the West Philippine Sea dispute.
“The Chinese government is really confused because of its incessant twisting of the truth and its efforts to mislead the good Chinese people,” the Philippine Star quoted him as saying.
He added: “They should listen to their peace-loving Chinese constituents who are calling for a stop to this bullying which they all know is a diversion of (sic) their domestic issues.”
The country’s response came following China’s earlier announcement stressing its continued refusal to participate in the recently-wrapped up arbitration proceedings in The Hague.
Besides blasting the Philippines for bringing the case to an international tribunal, China’s Foreign Ministry also accused the former of being the actual bully since it started the “illegal occupation” of several areas in the West Philippine Sea in the 1970s.
In turn, the Philippines and the international community have blasted China for constructing in the disputed territory several artificial islands which could permanently house military facilities.
China has denied the accusation; saying the facilities will be civilian in nature.
Nothing Wrong with Fixing One’s Own Ship
Reacting to China’s condemnation of the ongoing repairs of the BRP Sierra Madre in Ayungin Shoal meanwhile, DND public affairs chief Arsenio Andolong said the current fixes are not illegal since the ship is still technically a commissioned vessel of the Philippine Navy.
“Considering that it’s a vessel commissioned by the Navy, it is well within its right to conduct simple repairs,” he said. “It’s like repairing one’s own house.”
The country grounded the ship in the shoal in 1999 to serve as an outpost following China’s illegal seizure of nearby Mischief Reef in 1995.