President Rodrigo Duterte has ordered the military to conduct regular patrols in Benham Rise to protect the country’s sovereign rights over the area, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said on Wednesday.
“The Duterte administration is firm in protecting the country’s national interest and in upholding our sovereign rights,” DFA spokesman Charles Jose, also the assistant secretary for Office of Public Diplomacy, said.
He added that the department continues to coordinate with other relevant agencies to determine what future actions should be taken regarding the issue.
Jose said Chinese officials have reiterated that China fully respects the Philippine’s sovereign rights and jurisdiction over Benham Rise.
President Duterte earlier said that he allowed Beijing to send its ships to Benham Rise. Jaime Pilapil