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POLITICAL decision-makers, legislators, defense analysts and opinion writers are in disagreement over how the Philippines should react to past actions and recent spate of Chinese aggressions and provocative moves in the West Philippine Sea (WPS). In the wake of the use of a military-grade laser against a Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) vessel and crew, Officer in Charge of the Department of National Defense Carlito Galvez Jr. and visiting US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin agreed to resume joint naval patrols that were stopped by then-President Rodrigo Duterte. Australian Deputy Prime Minister and Defense Minister Richard Marles also expressed the willingness of his country to participate in joint naval patrols along with Japan. We understand the position of those opposed to the idea of joint maritime patrols, believing that they will draw repercussions from China. But the Philippines has long been at the receiving end of China's rogue behavior even with Duterte's cordial relations with President Xi Jinping. And for a weak nation like ours, it is incumbent on President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. to solicit support from other powerful and like-minded nations that advocate the rule of law.

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