We are aggressively patrolling, maintaining presence in our territorial waters – AFP chief

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Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Chief-of-Staff Lieutenant General Gilbert Gapay has said that President Rodrigo Duterte’s “temporary suspension” not to join other navies in joint exercises outside the territorial waters in West Philippine Sea does not mean the country is backing out to its claims and sovereignty.

“We are patrolling aggressively and vigorously our territorial waters and really maintaining presence in the area, and this sends a signal not only to China but other claimant countries that we are still asserting and protecting our sovereignty in that part of the country,” Lieutenant General Gapay told CNN Philippines on August 7.

The AFP chief also noted that “we uphold the diplomatic track and of course the rules-based approach in dealing with the West Philippine Sea issue.”