Lorenzana says Philippines to continue patrolling WPS
Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana saie the Philippines will continue to patrol its territorial waters as he emphasized that he and President Rodrigo Duterte share the same stand on the West Philippine Sea (WPS).
"While we acknowledge that China’s military capability is more advanced than ours, this does not deter us from defending our national interest, and our dignity as a people, with all that we have," Lorenzana said in a statement issued Sunday night.
"Thus, the conduct of maritime patrol in the WPS and Kalayaan Island Group by the Philippine Coast Guard and the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources will continue. The government will not waver in its position. Walang alisan (we will not move out)," he added.
Lorenzana added that Duterte's order regarding the West Philippine Sea is "very firm and straightforward".
"Defend what is rightfully ours without going to war and maintain the peace in the seas. Those who said that the president and me are not align, let me clarify that my pronouncements echo the stand of our President and Commander in Chief," he said.
"As for our long standing and multi-faceted relationship with China, we maintain cooperation in various areas that are mutually beneficial to our peoples. We can be cordial and cooperative with other nations but not at the expense of our sovereignty and sovereign rights," the defense chief stated.
"Latest developments make it clear that there is a need for all stakeholders to cooperate.They can now take this as an opportunity to advance the values and principles we collectively affirm and profess to respect including the peaceful settlement of disputes as partners and as signatories to UNCLOS ( United Nations Convention of the Law of the Sea) and all relevant international instruments," he added. Robina Asido/DMS