“The President’s statement that incursions in the Philippine Rise would trigger war is not directed at China,” Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said on Thursday, March 1.
Roque added that China already recognized that Philippines has sovereign rights over the area.
“The President is firm in his stance that any country that wishes to conduct research or any other study in the Philippine Rise would first need to secure the approval of the Philippine government through the National Security Adviser,” he said.
On February 28 during the inauguration of Bahay Pag-Asa Phase 2 in Marawi City, President Rodrigo Duterte said “walang mage-experiments na diyan hangga’t wala silang permiso galing sa akin but the Armed Forces will have to recommend it.”
“Otherwise, no. I will not allow fishing, I will not – Magka-giyera tayo,” he added.
Sources: https://pcoo.gov.ph/wp-content/uploads/2018/02/20180228-Speech_of_President_Rodrigo_Roa_Duterte_during_the_Inauguration_of_the_Bahay_Pag_Asa-Marawi_City.pdf; https://pcoo.gov.ph/news_releases/presidential-spokesperson-president-like-clarify-following/