MANILA (PNA) — Valenzuela City Rep. Sherwin Gatchalian on Friday condemned China’s reported usage of jamming equipment in the Ayungin Shoal, saying such move threatens the lives of civilians and their right to freedom of movement.
The economic giant was found to have deployed high-tech communications and jamming equipment in the shoal to curb activities of Philippine forces, as two military planes were forced to navigate on their own after communication channels went dead while hovering over the area last Saturday, according to news reports.
Such tactic puts the safety of civilian aircraft crossing the area at risk, a major broadsheet cited one military official as saying.
Gatchalian argued that China’s move to use the said equipment can likely violate civilians’ right to life, liberty and security as well as the right to freedom of movement as enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
“China’s resort to use jamming devices imperils the lives of civilians aboard private and commercial planes because it affects the transmission of information crucial for navigation. It also breaches the right of people to travel. China, as a member of the United Nations and more so as a member of the UN Security Council, should learn to respect the rights of people to life, liberty, security, and movement as guaranteed by the Declaration,” said Gatchalian, who is also a senior vice chair for the House committee on Tourism.
The lawmaker stressed that the freedom to collect and pass on information is assured in Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which states: “Everyone shall have the right to freedom of expression; this right shall include freedom to seek, receive and impart information and ideas of all kinds, regardless of frontiers, either orally, in writing or in print, in the form of art, or through any other media of his choice.”
Gatchalian noted that China should stick to the diplomatic route on its territorial row with the Philippines over the West Philippine Sea, saying such dispute can be settled without brute force following the recently concluded meeting between the Philippines and Indonesia on overlapping exclusive economic zones (EEZs).
“The Philippines and Indonesia’s resolve to work on territorial issues through peaceful means clearly illustrates that the diplomatic route is more effective in determining solutions in such conflicts. By using that route, economic, political, and social ties are kept intact,” he added. (PNA)