Defense chief agrees on filing protest against China

National Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana expressed that he agrees with Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. who believes that Philippines should file diplomatic protest against China for building a maritime rescue center in Kagitingan Reef in West Philippine Sea.

“Maybe they could also help Filipinos who are stranded, or in distress in the sea, maybe by inclement weather. Pero I think I agree with the Secretary of Foreign Affiars that we should protest, only because we don’t want them to be keeping on building things there so that it will make it permanent, it will become theirs,” Secretary Lorenzana said.

He made the statement to reporters at the sidelines of National Defense College of the Philippines (NDCP) Alumni Forum “The National Security Outlook for the Philippines in 2019” at the NDCP building in Camp Aguinaldo, Quezon City.

“We just protest to let them know that any development that they continue to do there is protested by us because we believe that Mischief Reef, Fiery Cross and all those islands that they have built within our EEZ is under our EEZ and they belong to us,” he added.

“Agree totally,” Secretary Locsin earlier said in a Twitter post reacting to statement of Supreme Court Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio saying “if a foreign country will say ‘we will use this as a rescue center’ which they should not do without our approval because that’s ours so we should protest.” 

However, Locsin said he prefers engaging China at the United Nations General Assembly.

“I however preferred engaging them openly on the floor of the UN General Assembly,” he said. “Meanwhile asked Task Force for its real assessment of the situation.”