National Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said at the Stratbase Albert Del Rosario Institute “Pilipinas Conference 2018” in Makati City on December 7 that the Philippines’ biggest strength is its alliance with United States.
“It’s still the biggest strength of the Philippines, this alliance with the United States,” Secretary Lorenzana said as quoted by Inquirer.net. He also noted the Philippines alliance with ASEAN nations and growing military cooperation with Japan and Australia.
The defense chief was asked regarding President Rodrigo Duterte’s pronouncements that the Philippines cannot go to war against China over the disputed West Philippine Sea.
“In his frustration, I think he said that we can’t fight China but he knows we have some options here,” Lorenzana said.
One instance is, on November 10 during the 1st Subaraw Biodiversity Festival in Puerto Princesa City, Palawan, President Duterte said “I’m putting on notice everybody, the United States, China, Australia, ‘yung interesado, that the Philippines is not ready for a war.”
“We cannot afford it and we cannot manage it. Magpalayo tayo diyan sa gulo na ‘yan. Wala man tayong kasali,” he added.
He explained that Palawan is very critical.”Kasi ‘pag nagputukan ‘yang China Sea na ‘yan, ang lahat ng bala na-misfire pupunta dito.”
He added that as his policy, he will not allow stockpiling of weapons in Palawan. “[Palawan] Island is very critical and I think as a matter of foreign policy, I will not allow any country to stockpile any kind of weapon dito sa inyo,” he said.
Sources: https://globalnation.inquirer.net/171872/lorenzana-ph-lacks-military-might-but-has-friends-in-us-asean; https://www.mintfo.com/security-defense/duterte-to-us-china-australia-philippines-is-not-ready-for-a-war/7523/