Former boxer and world champion Manny Pacquiao who recently announced his candidacy for president of the Philippines made strong statements where he warned the Chinese communist regime that if he wins the elections, he will not allow Beijing to ‘intimidate’ them.
In an interview for a local media, ABS-CBN, Manny Pacquiao, who is currently serving as a senator, was asked if he would change anything regarding the Philippines’ policy with China, to which he replied:
“As for the West Philippine Sea issue, we need to insist and defend what is ours, and we don’t need to start a fight with China. In fact, it’s better if we befriend them to help our country, and discuss what is ours… we should take that, and whatever helps Filipinos, whatever helps our country succeed, we should stand by that. We should not let ourselves be bullied, we also want to be friends with other countries.”
The ex-boxer’s statements are in reference to an episode that occurred on March 7 this year when the Philippine Coast Guard sighted more than 200 Chinese fishing boats fishing on the Julian Felipe Reef, which is part of the Philippines’ exclusive commercial zone.
President Rodrigo Duterte, in response, filed a formal diplomatic complaint asking Beijing to withdraw its vessels from the Philippine seas.
But the CCP refused, and as Breitbart reported, the Chinese foreign minister even said it had sovereignty over that territory.
Reports indicate that the Chinese fishing boats were crewed by mercenaries prepared for a possible armed conflict.
Pacquiao, who belongs to the same party as the president and with whom they were allies, criticized President Duterte’s response to China as “lacking.”
However, Duterte replied that the former boxer needed to learn more about foreign policy, that the Philippines has a ‘huge debt’ with Beijing, and that confronting the CCP would do the country no good.
Pacquiao replied, “I am a Filipino voicing out what needs to be said in defense of what has been adjudicated as rightfully ours.”
In September, Manny Pacquiao announced that he would be running for president of the Philippines shortly after retiring from boxing.
Initially, the former boxer would share a ticket with the current president, who would be his vice-presidential candidate for the Laban Party but last October 2, Duterte announced that he was retiring from politics.
According to Newsweek, the president’s announcement opened the door for his daughter, Sara Duterte-Caprio, to run for president although the Laban Party already nominated Pacquiao as the candidate for the 2022 elections.
If Manny Pacquiao becomes president of the Philippines and maintains his firm stance against CCP aggression, Beijing would add one more enemy in the region due to its aggressive attitude and disdain towards other nations.
The CCP has a history of stealing fish in foreign waters
This is not the first time Chinese vessels have been involved in massive illegal fishing.
In June of this year, a report by the South China Morning Post indicates that hundreds of Chinese fishing boats were discovered by the Argentine Prefecture illegally fishing at night in that country’s exclusive commercial zone.
The boats turn off their engines, radar systems, and lights to avoid detection. Of the 800 boats discovered, almost 70 percent were Chinese.
Other reports from November 2020 denounce that hundreds of Chinese fishing boats were discovered fishing in the Galapagos Islands, Ecuador, an area designated as a natural reserve by UNESCO for the vast biodiversity there.