DND expresses concern; AFP verifying reports of Chinese incursions into country's EEZ
Defense Secretary Lorenzana says they’re concerned of the presence of Chinese militia boats
MANILA – Philippine Defense Secretary Delfin N. Lorenzana said they view with “grave concern” the presence of 220 Chinese militia boats in the Julian Felipe Reef (Union Reef) in the West Philippine Sea.
“We call on the Chinese to stop this incursion and immediately recall these boats violating our maritime rights and encroaching into our sovereign territory. We are committed to uphold our sovereign rights over the West Philippines Sea,” Lorenzana said in his statement released early Sunday evening.
He said they are coordinating with the Philippine Coast Guard, the National Task Force for the West Philippine Sea and the Department of Foreign Affairs for appropriate action in the context of protecting the welfare of Filipino fishermen, marine resources and maintenance of peace and stability in the West Philippine Sea.
Meanwhile, Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Chief of Staff Lt. General Cirilito Sobejana said he has ordered the Western Command to verify the report.
“I am waiting for Vice Admiral Ramil Roberto B. Enriquez’s report,” General Sobejana said. He said he still has to receive instructions from higher ups because they will abide with the peaceful, principles and rules-based approach in resolving issues similar to incursions. (Melo M. Acuña)
Defense Secretary Delfin N. Lorezana (left) and AFP Chief of Staff Lt. General Cirilito Sobejana. (File Photos/Melo M. Acuna)