While expressing alarm over the reported swarming of Chinese ships off Iroquois Reef and Sabina Shoal in the West Philippine Sea (WPS), the Department of National Defense (DND) maintained that it will not give up any part of the country’s territory and will continue with its regular maritime and air patrols.

“The DND views with great concern the reported swarming of Chinese vessels in Iroquois Reef and Sabina Shoal in the WPS,” DND officer-in-charge Undersecretary Jose Faustino Jr. said in a statement Wednesday.

He added that President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr.’s directive to the DND is clear and that is not to give up any part, regardless of size, of the country’s territory.

“The President’s directive to the Department is clear — we will not give up a single square inch of Philippine territory. We continue to conduct routine maritime and aerial patrols in the WPS. Information gathered in these patrols are submitted to relevant authorities for appropriate action,” Faustino said.

The DND chief also stressed that their lines remain open to dialogue.

“However, we maintain that activities which violate our sovereignty, sovereign rights, and jurisdiction, and undermine the peace and stability of the region, are unacceptable,” he added.

Faustino also said the Philippines remains committed to maintaining a rules-based order in the West Philippine Sea and the larger South China Sea.

However, he added that the country reserves the right to deal with any situation that violates or threatens its territorial integrity and sovereignty. (PNA)