Presidential Spokesperson and Chief Presidential Legal Counsel Secretary Salvador Panelo said during the January 31 press briefing in Malacañang that “maybe we should be thankful” after China reportedly opened the Maritime Rescue Center on the Philippine claimed Kagitingan Reef in the West Philippine Sea.
“Maybe we should be thankful. I share the sentiment of Secretary Delfin Lorenzana that: That could help seamen in distress in that area, it can help everybody,” Panelo said when asked if Malacañang is concerned about the report and what will the government do about it.
“Kaya the position of the Department of National Defense is it will do nothing because, helpful pa nga eh. It’s a distress center, ibig sabihin makakatulong iyon sa mga nangangailangan ng tulong in that region,” he added.
He added that he think the rescue center will not affect Philippines’ claim over the disputed waters.
“I don’t think so, it will not. But siguro we will leave it to the DFA Secretary. Kasi we will not be preempting. Always the President’s style is, we’ll leave it to the departments. Kasi siya friends to all, enemies to none – that’s the policy,” Panelo explained.
“Personally, I don’t think establishing a distress center is bad,” he said.
“Even in who’s territory,” he added. “Because it will be helping everybody in distress.”