Malacañang has commended the local coast guard personnel for driving away a Chinese naval ship spotted sailing in the country’s waters.
“Congratulations po sa ating magigiting na PCG (Philippine Coast Guard) (Congratulations to our brave PCG),” Presidential spokesman Harry Roque said during a televised press briefing Monday, July 19.
“I’m sure in due course you will be given the proper recognition that you deserve. Saludo po kami sa inyo (We salute you),” he added.
The Philippine Coast Guard recently reported that a Chinese warship was forced to leave the Marie Louise Bank in El Nido, Palawan following a radio challenge on July 13.
The coast guard ship spotted the naval vessel that carried the Chinese flag near Marie Louise Bank and immediately used a Long Range Acoustic Device (LRDA) to sent verbal challenge to the foreign ship. The Chinese ship reportedly left the area afterwards.
The country’s coast guard has intensified maritime patrols in the West Philippine Sea following the controversial presence of Chinese vessels in local waters. The Philippine government has filed flurry of protests against the unlawful stay of the foreign ships in the West Philippine Sea.
President Duterte earlier directed the country’s ships to continue the sovereign patrols in the West Philippine Sea. Duterte made clear the country has become “a little stronger” in dealing with China but will not start a war over the territorial conflict.
“I would like to assure, I said to China, I assure you guys that nothing of a sort of placing their arms against you. Even if we put our entire Navy ships there, we will not start a war because we cannot afford it,” he said in a public address last May.
President Duterte earlier recognized the country owed a huge of debt of gratitude to “good friend” China for various aid, including donated coronavirus vaccines, but ruled out forging a compromise on the West Philippine Sea.
The President assured the nation that the government would “not waver” in its position on the West Philippine Sea. But he stressed the need to pursue a peaceful and rules-based resolution to the sea dispute with China.