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The Marcos administration aims to promote mutual respect among claimant countries in the West Philippine Sea, the Department of National Defense (DND) stated on Tuesday, July 19.

At a press briefing, DND officer-in-charge Undersecretary Jose Faustino Jr. said that although President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. has ordered them to “defend every inch of the Philippine territory”, they seek to peacefully resolve the West Philippine Sea conflict.

“What we want is a rules-based international order in these areas, and we support that,” Faustino revealed.

“Sa maritime security, right now, nung panahon ni President Duterte, nakita nyo yung collaboration, paano tayo nakipag-collaborate sa China in opening up other avenues ng cooperation dito sa West Philippine Sea, and I think it’s the same because of the policy of the President, our foreign policy, an independent foreign policy, is basically the same,” he said.

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This follows new incursions of Chinese militia vessels and the presence of the China Coast Guard (CCG) in the WPS, according to Faustino, who also stated that they have coordinated with the National Task Force for the West Philippine Sea on the matter.

“Right now, we have sightings of some particularly Chinese militia vessels and some of the Chinese Coast Guard in the contested areas, and through the National Task Force for the West Philippine Sea, which is chaired by the National Security Adviser, we coordinate with the NTF-WPS on how to address these incursions,” the defense OIC reported.

Last June, the country filed another diplomatic protest over the harassment of Filipino forces by the CCG while conducting rotation and reprovision missions in the Ayungin Shoal, including the installation of buoys blocking its entrance.

On July 12, PH marked the sixth anniversary of the landmark 2016 ruling of the Permanent Court of Arbitration, which ruled in its favor and rejected Beijing’s claim of historic rights to resources within the nine-dash line, upholding the PH sovereign rights and jurisdiction within its exclusive economic zone.

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