Filipino troops and residents of Pag-asa Island in Kalayaan town watching President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.'s state of the nation address on a small monitor connected to a laptop on July 24. (Photo from Wescom Public Affairs Office)

Amidst their regular patrol duties on remote islands in Kalayaan municipality the West Philippine Sea, military personnel took a momentary break earlier in the week to watch the state of the nation address delivered by President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.

This pause, however brief, did not signify a lack of vigilance, Western Command (Wescom) spokesperson Commander Ariel Joseph Coloma said Thursday. Instead, it displays that the Philippines maintains control over its territorial sovereignty, and its soldiers are capable of engaging in events of national importance while remaining alert at all times.

The troops, equipped with desks and laptop computers, gathered to watch and listen to President Marcos Jr.’s report on the nation’s progress and accomplishments on July 24 in their detachments on the islands of Pag-asa, Rizal, Lawak, Kota, Panata, Likas, Patag, and Parola, and even Ayungin Shoal aboard the BRP Sierra Madre.

He said that on Pag-asa, the island residents joined the Wescom personnel stationed there, forming an unbreakable alliance that transcended distance and adversity. Together, they watched and listened attentively to the President.

“His speech was met with keen attention and profound interest by the military personnel present on the islands. The troops followed his every word, understanding the gravity of the matters discussed and how it could impact their lives,” he said.

“Despite their geographical isolation, the troops demonstrated their unwavering commitment to their duties and responsibilities. They temporarily put their routine tasks on hold to engage in the country’s governance, proving their dedication to both their military roles and their roles as citizens of the nation,” added Coloma.

Additionally, he mentioned that under the leadership of Vice Admiral Alberto Carlos, Wescom demonstrated an extraordinary sense of unity that extended throughout the province of Palawan.

They felt pride and determination, Coloma said when President Marcos Jr. made his declaration: “We will protect our sovereign rights and preserve our territorial integrity in defense of a rules-based international order.”