Philippines to ‘vigorously' defend its territory against 'intruders': President

Filipino president's comment comes in apparent reference to China with which Manila has disputes over maritime claims

09:57 - 19/05/2024 Sunday
File photo
File photo

Philippines President Ferdinand Marcos Saturday said Manila will “vigorously defend” its territory against “intruders,” without naming anyone.

“Against intruders who have been disrespecting our territorial integrity, we will vigorously defend what is ours,” Marcos told graduating cadets in Baguio city in the northern Philippines.

“But our conduct (will) always be guided by law and by our responsibility as a rules-abiding member of the community of nations,” said Marcos, in an apparent reference to China with which Manila has competing maritime claims in the disputed South China Sea.

Marcos also warned against “evolving threats that harm our people and corrode social and political trust,” a statement from his office said.

Manila and Beijing have witnessed bilateral relations spiral down due to tensions at the seas where the two maritime neighbors have overlapping claims over the disputed islets.

Vessels from the sides have confronted each other eliciting support for Manila from the US, which has expanded its military presence in the Philippines under defense agreements.

Meanwhile, the Marcos administration has removed the chief of the Philippines military's Western Command (Wescom), Vice Adm. Alberto Carlos.

Wescom deals with China over sea tensions with Beijing, in waters that Manila identifies as the West Philippines Sea.

The decision to remove came amid claims made by Chinese diplomats in Manila that they had agreed with Carlos a “new model” would be implemented to ease tensions in the seas.

Carlos had gone on leave before the Philippines Defense Secretary Gilberto Teodoro Jr. Thursday confirmed Rear Adm. Alfonso Torres Jr. succeeded Carlos.

Top officials in Manila have denied the Chinese Embassy's claims while Carlos has not spoken over the issue yet.

#Baguio city
#Gilberto Teodoro Jr.
#President Ferdinand Marcos
#South China Sea
#territorial integrity
#Vice Adm. Alberto Carlos
#West Philippines Sea
1 month ago