Marcos thinks China is 'punishing' Philippines for Singapore speech

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President Ferdinand 'Bongbong' Marcos Jr. (Photo courtesy of Malacañang)

President Marcos Jr. believes that China is "punishing" the Philippines through their recent aggressive actions in the West Philippine Sea (WPS) due to his speech at the Shangri-La Dialogue (SLD) in Singapore last week.

The Commander-in-Chief shared this sentiment to top defense and military officials during the second quarter command conference of the Philippine Navy (PN) on Monday, June 3.

"He said, 'if this is the punishment for me giving a speech at the plenary of the Shangri-La Dialogue, then they are punishing us,'" Commodore Roy Vincent Trinidad, PN spokesperson for WPS, told reporters at Camp Aguinaldo on Tuesday, June 4.

Marcos presided over the PN command conference in the Navy's headquarters in Manila. 

In attendance were Defense Secretary Gilberto Teodoro Jr.; Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Chief, General Romeo Brawner Jr.; Navy Flag Officer in Command, Vice Adm. Toribio Adaci Jr.; Philippine Army (PA) Commanding General, Lt. Gen. Roy Galido; and Philippine Air Force (PAF) Commanding General, Lt. Gen. Stephen Parreno among others.

The AFP accused Chinese personnel of forcibly taking one of the four food packages intended for Filipino troops stationed onboard BRP Sierra Madre in Ayungin Shoal on May 19.

Read related story: AFP Chief denies Filipino soldiers pointed guns at China Coast Guard in tense confrontation

According to Trinidad, Marcos described China's recent aggressive actions in the WPS as "illegal" and "not within the bounds of international law."

The Navy spokesman further stated that Marcos instructed the AFP "not to be deterred in performing its mandate" of ensuring the country's territorial integrity and protecting its claims in the WPS.

On May 31, Marcos made history when he became the first Philippine leader to deliver a keynote address to open the 21st edition of the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore, focusing on global defense and security affairs.

Marcos articulated the maritime challenges faced by the Philippines in the West Philippine Sea and the developments in the Indo-Pacific region.

"We have defined our territory and maritime zones in a manner befitting a responsible and law-abiding member of the international community. We have submitted our assertions to rigorous legal scrutiny by the world’s leading jurists. So, the lines that we draw on our waters are not derived from just our imagination, but from international law," Marcos said.

The Philippine leader also reiterated that the government is committed to "protect our sovereign home -- to the last square inch, to the last square millimeter."

In response, the Chinese Foreign Ministry reportedly slammed Marcos' speech as they called it an attempt to "disregard history, designed to amplify the Philippines’ wrongful position on the South China Sea" row.