President Rodrigo Duterte on Tuesday said the Philippines will no longer conduct any joint naval patrols with other countries in the West Philippine Sea.
In his speech during the anniversary of the Presidential Airlift Wing at Villamor Air Base in Pasay City, Duterte said the Philippine troops will patrol the country’s own territory.
“We will not join any expedition of patrolling the seas. I will not allow it because I do not want my country to be involved in a hostile act. When you patrol not on the high seas but someone else’s territory, whether it is really owned by us, which the law says, that’s beside the point,” he said.
“The point is I do not want to ride gung-ho style there with China or with America. I just want to patrol our territorial waters,” the President added.
Duterte reminded China of ruling of an arbitral tribunal favoring the Philippines.
“So may I remind China again: Beyond the territorial waters are the entitlements of the sea, yung napanalo natin (what we won) but it is not part of our territory. It is part of our Exclusive Economic Zone,” the President said.
“The territory is limited to the 12-mile limit. So that is ours. We do not go into a patrol or join any other army from now on because I do not want trouble,” he added. CATHERINE S. VALENTE