- President said he does not want PH to join patrols with foreign navies in disputed waters
- He said PH ships to patrol country’s territorial waters only
- He also invoked UN ruling, called on China to patrol its territorial waters only also
MANILA, Philippines – To avoid stirring up trouble in the West Philippine Sea, President Rodrigo Duterte announced he would no longer let the country’s coast guard or navy join the patrols of foreign countries in the disputed waters.
During his speech at Villamor Airbase on the occasion of the 250th Philippine Airlift Wing’s 48th anniversary, Duterte said such joint patrols will only serve to aggravate tensions in the West Philippine Sea.
“We will not join any expedition of patrolling the sea. I will not allow it because I don’t want my country to be involved in hostile act. Patrolling kasi, when you patrol not only high seas but somebody else’s territory. Whether it is really owned by us, which the judgement says atin iyan, entitlement sabihin naman ng isa, China. That’s besides my point. The point is I dont want to ride gung-ho style there with China or with America,” GMA News quoted him as saying.
Duterte added that Philippine ships will be limited to patrolling the country’s territorial waters which is limited to 12 nautical miles from the baseline.
“Territory is limited to the 12-mile limit. That is ours. Hanggang diyan lang tayo,” he said. “I just want to patrol our territorial waters. We do not go into patrol or join any army because I do not want trouble.”
At the same time, the president reminded China to also do the same and patrol its own territorial waters since the UN arbitration ruling entitled the Philippines the right to enjoy its Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) in the West Philippine Sea.
“So may I remind China again, beyond the territorial waters are the entitlement of the sea. ‘Yung napanalo natin, but it is not part of our territory. It is part of our exclusive economic zone, iyong mga isda, ano ang mga nakita mo diyan, pati ‘yung sa baba, ‘yung oil pati gas kung meron,” he said.