The Philippines will continue patrolling the West Philippine Sea, Foreign Affairs Secretary Teddy Locsin Jr. said.
“We’re gonna continue our patrol because it’s ours. That’s all there is to it and then they will continue to call it an illegal provocation – but that’s their right. It’s a free world. We can’t stop another country from talking,” Secretary Locsin said during an interview with ABS-CBN News Channel August 25.
“Our statement itself was a reaction to what China was doing. That was our reaction and that is their reaction. Let me please emphasize this, it’s a free world. Everyone is free to say what they want,” Secretary Locsin added. “I have formally protested certain actions from China in what is indisputably our territorial waters. So fine, let them say that. They can call it illegal provocations, you can’t change their mind. They already lost the arbitral award, they wouldn’t accept it.”
It can be recalled that last week China said the Philippines is infringing on China’s sovereignty and security by sending military aircraft into air space adjacent to Spratly islands and reefs garrisoned by China. This is after Philippines lodged a diplomatic protest against China “over the illegal confiscation by the Chinese Coast Guard of fish aggregating devices (payaos) of Filipino fishermen in Bajo de Masinloc in May.”
The Philippines also “objected to China’s continuing illicit issuances of radio challenges against Philippine aircraft conducting legitimate regular maritime patrols in the West Philippine Sea.”