Gutierrez challenges other presidential bets to make a stand on West PH Sea issue amid Chinese incursion anew

The Roxas campaign on Thursday challenged other presidential candidates to follow the example of its standard-bearer Mar Roxas who vowed to fight for the country’s sovereignty amid China’s continued encroachment in the West Philippine Sea.

Rep. Barry Gutierrez, Daang Matuwid spokesperson, said that other presidential candidates should now speak out and make a stand on the West Philippine Sea dispute between the Philippines and China after the latter continues its creeping invasion and massive reclamation activities in the disputed territory.

“We challenge the other candidates who have not stood up for what is ours, to come out, make a stand, and speak out – how low will you bow to China? For a true leader, politics always takes a back step when sovereignty is at hand,” Gutierrez said.

Gutierrez cited Roxas’ clear stand on the West Philippine Sea dispute.

Roxas earlier vowed to fight for the country’s territorial sovereignty and said he will seek for treaties with allied countries to strengthen the Philippines defensive capability.

The LP standard-bearer particularly noted the harassment being done by Chinese ships against Filipino fishermen in the West Philippine Sea.

“Let’s support Mar who stood by what is ours and is ready to fight for our country,” Gutierrez said.

On Tuesday, China lighted a 55-meter high lighthouse on Subi Reef, which is being claimed by the Philippines and Vietnam, in the West Philippine Sea.

Gutierrez said that such a move clearly showed that China will push for its claim of the entire Kalayaan Island Group or the Spratlys.

“China continues to encroach on our territory. The lighting of the lighthouse is a clear symbol of their intention to permanently claim the sea that gives our fishermen livelihood and gives food to our countrymen, contrary to their claims of peaceful intentions,” Gutierrez said.

“We should not allow ourselves to give in to fear and starve in our own land,” he concluded.###

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