The Facebook page Kalayaan ATIN ITO revealed that China is aiming to cripple economic activities in order to push away civilians and leave the islands unoccupied. Once this happens, the Chinese apparently has plans to take control of the area and establish a military base.
A recently uploaded video showed how alarming the extents of the damage really were by panning in on the dead fish that washed ashore. The ecosystem and surrounding coral reefs on Pag-asa Island are being destroyed; civilian Filipinos and their source of livelihood are suffering.
The post also claims that China is “aggressively removing economic activities of the civilian community at the Kalayaan Island Group to drive away civilians and isolate the Islands. Once all civilians are gone, Chinese military activities to occupy the islands will be easier”.
The Philippine government has yet to react on the issue. When it does, it will have to provide solutions, not just to the welfare and livelihood of the civilian Filipinos on the island, but overall, the ongoing dispute it is facing on the territory.
While other countries have laid their claims on the islands, the Philippines and China have been the most active and vocal about the territorial dispute.
Diplomatic negotiations, tense standoffs, and intimidation tactics have occurred between the two in an attempt to secure their claim or at the very least, achieve a compromise on the territory.
Philippines is not the only country China has been busy with. The country is also attending to territorial disputes against Vietnam, Japan and Taiwan.
Pag-asa Island, also called Thitu Island, is one of the Spratly Islands and part of Kalayaan municipality of Palawan, Philippines. It is located in the West Philippine Sea. Pag-asa is the only island in the Spratlys that is home to civilian Filipinos who make a humble living out of fishing.
The Island has been occupied by the Philippines since 1970. Territorial disputes between Taiwan, China, Vietnam and of course, the Philippines, have made the area known to the international community.