Posts Tagged ‘Philippine territory’

Philippines: President Duterte Foes Amend Impeachment Complaint, Call Duterte Stance on China ‘Dereliction of Duty’

March 20, 2017
Magdalo party-list Rep. Gary Alejano holds a copy of the impeachment complaint he filed against President Duterte at the House of Representatives on Thursday. photo
MANILA, Philippines — Magdalo Party-list Rep. Gary Alejano said that his group is considering  filing a supplemental complaint against President Rodrigo Duterte for allegedly being subservient to China.
Alejano’s statement came after Duterte claimed last week that he allowed China to send survey ships to Benham Rise as part of an agreement.
The Department of Foreign Affairs last week said it was not aware of an agreement or policy over the Benham Rise region.
In an interview on CNN’s ‘The Source,’ Alejano said that the president’s action is a matter of national security since there is a conflict of interest with China on the West Philippine Sea, the part of the South China Sea that Manila claims.
“We’re talking about national interest here, we’re talking about national security here because we have a clear conflict of interest in West Philippine Sea,” Alejano said.
China has repeatedly reiterated its position over the South China Sea, saying it has a historical and legal claim over the vast area.
An international tribunal however, ruled in favor of the Philippines in an arbitration case against China, saying that China’s “nine-dash line” claim over a large part of the South China Sea, including part of the Philippines’ exclusive economic zone, has no basis.
In a speech on Sunday, Duterte also said that he cannot stop China from setting up a reported monitoring station in the Scarborough Shoal, also known as Panatag or Bajo de Masinloc.
“We cannot stop China from doing its thing. Hindi nga napara ng Amerikano,” Duterte said.
Duterte added that the country will lose all of its military and policemen if he declares war against China.
Alejano however, said that war is not the only solution, saying that the president could constantly raise issues in the West Philippines Sea.
“He’s not doing that because he’s afraid to offend China,” Alejano said.
He added that if Duterte said he cannot do anything to protect the country’s territory “then that’s dereliction of duty.”
 (Contains links to several previos articles on the South China Sea)

Philippine President Duterte Seeking Allies For At Sea Code of Conduct

March 20, 2017
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Duterte is welcomed by his Myanmar counterpart U Htin Kyaw at the Presidential Palace in the capital Naypyitaw yesterday. Duterte flew to Bangkok, Thailand last night. AP

MANILA, Philippines – In a bid to avoid tension in disputed areas in the South China Sea, President Duterte called for support for the approval of a Code of Conduct (COC) among members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).

“It’s very important for China and the rest of the nations, especially the ASEAN, to come up with a Code of Conduct,” Duterte said in a press briefing in Myanmar on Sunday night.

The President also pitched for the COC while he was in Myanmar, which was part of the last leg of his introductory tour of Southeast Asia in the run-up to the ASEAN summit this November in Manila.

The Declaration on the Code of Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (DOC) was signed by all members of ASEAN and China on Nov. 4, 2002. It lists the principles of self-restraint and non-militarization.

Duterte said he would invoke the arbitral ruling favoring Philippine claims if China starts gathering mineral resources from the disputed areas.

“Kung ang China kukuha na sila ng mga oil o uranium (If China starts getting oil or uranium) or whatever that’s inside the bowels of the sea, kalabitin ko sila (I will do something). Ako man rin ang may-ari niyan (We own it). You claim it by historical right, but by judgment I won and it’s mine,” he said.

But Duterte again admitted that the Philippines cannot stop China from building a radar station at Panatag (Scarborough) Shoal because the Philippine military is no match for Chinese armed forces. And he cannot allow Filipino soldiers to go to disputed areas to avoid casualties.

“First hour pa lang ubos na ‘yun (they are finished already). We are not in a position to declare war,” he said.

“But I said to China that someday during my term as President, I will have to confront you about the arbitral ruling and that would be maybe, during the time when you begin to extract minerals and the riches of what is inside the bowels of the earth,” he added.

Duterte also claimed that the United States is also “scared” of China.

“Hindi nga natin mapigilan kasi hindi natin kaya ang China. Hindi nga mapigilan ng Amerikano. In the first place, sa umpisa pa lang niyan, hindi na pumunta ang Amerikano, natakot na (We cannot stop China. Even the Americans cannot stop it. In the first place, from the start America did not respond, they got scared right away),” he said.

He noted that what the Philippines has right now are only entitlements.

“Just entitlement, not territory. I said repeatedly it is not within our territorial waters. But what we are trying to achieve is that we are also recognized to own the entitlements,” he said.

“The structures have nothing to do with the economic zone. It might impede but actually it’s a construction that would disturb the navigation of the sea,” he added.

Despite China’s excessive claims, Duterte said he is working to further bolster economic and trade ties between Manila and Beijing.

Defend Panatag

Supreme Court Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio reminded Duterte that he has the constitutional duty to defend Panatag Shoal from Chinese incursion.

Carpio also formulated a five-point strategy on how the Duterte administration can respond to China’s reported plan to install a radar station in the disputed shoal.

The magistrate explained that Panatag is part of the national territory under Republic Act No. 9522 or Philippine Baselines Law and should be defended to “preserve for future generations of Filipinos their national patrimony in the West Philippine Sea.”

But he stressed that since the Philippines cannot match the military power of China, Duterte may opt for other actions to defend the country’s sovereignty over the shoal and fulfill his duty as president.

First, Carpio suggested that the government should file a strong formal protest against the Chinese building activity before the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) in The Hague.

“This is what the Vietnamese did recently when China sent cruise tours to the disputed Paracels,” he added.

The PCA ruled that Panatag Shoal is a “common fishing ground” of fishermen not only from the Philippines but also from China and other neighboring countries and nullified China’s nine-dash line claim over South China Sea. The justice said the government could also send the Philippine Navy to patrol the shoal.

“If the Chinese attack Philippine Navy vessels, then invoke the Philippine-US Mutual Defense Treaty which covers any armed attack on Philippine navy vessels operating in the South China Sea,” he suggested.



Philippines: Supreme Court Associate Justice reminds President Rodrigo Duterte to avoid waiving Philippine sovereignty to any Philippine territory

March 20, 2017
By: – Reporter / @T2TupasINQ
/ 12:51 PM March 20, 2017
Image may contain: ocean, sky, cloud, outdoor, water and nature
A Filipino fishing vessel ventures into the Panatag (Scarborough) Shoal in the West Philippine Sea. —REM ZAMORA

Supreme Court Associate Justice Antonio Carpio reminded President Rodrigo Duterte to avoid any statement or declaration that expressly or impliedly waives Philippine sovereignty to any Philippine territory in the West Philippine Sea.

“This will preserve for future generations of Filipinos their natural patrimony in the West Philippine Sea,” Carpio said.

Carpio’s statement came after Duterte said he cannot stop China from implementing its plan to build structures on the disputed Panatag Shoal for now.

In 2012, China seized Panatag Shoal or the Scarborough Shoal after a tense standoff between Chinese and Filipino vessels. China denied Filipino fishermen access to Scarborough’s rich fish stock.

Filipinos have been able to go back to Scarborough after Duterte reached out to Beijing and restored good diplomatic ties, which were damaged when President Benigno Aquino III tried to forcefully enforce Philippine authority on the shoal.

The Permanent Court of Arbitration ruled that Panatag Shoal is a “common fishing ground” of fishermen not only from the Philippines but also from China and other neighboring countries.

Duterte said if the US was not able to stop China, what could the Philippines do?

Carpio said Duterte was the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces which is tasked by the Constitution to defend the country’s territory.

He pointed out that under Republic Act 9522 or the Philippines’ Baseline Law, Scarborough Shoal is part of the Philippine territory.

Carpio said since the Philippines was no match to China militarily, the President could fulfill his constitutional duty by doing any, some or all of the following:

  • File a strong formal protest against the Chinese building activity.

“This is the least that the President should do,” Carpio said.

Carpio said that is what the Vietnamese did recently when China sent cruise tours to the disputed Paracels.

  • Send the Philippine Navy to patrol Scarborough Shoal.

Carpio said if the Chinese attack the Philippine navy vessels, the country can invoke the Philippine-US Mutual Defense Treaty which covers any armed attack on Philippine Navy vessels operating in the South China Sea.

  • Ask the United States to declare that Scarborough Shoal is part of Philippine territory for purposes of the Philippines-US Mutual Defense Treaty since the shoal has been part of  Philippine territory even during the American colonial period.

The high court’s Senior magistrate and an expert in the maritime dispute with China said “the US has declared the Senkakus as part of Japanese territory for purposes of the US-Japan mutual defense treaty.”

  • Accept the standing US offer to hold joint naval patrols in the South China Sea, which includes Scarborough Shoal.

Carpio said “this will demonstrate joint Philippine and US demonstration to prevent China from building on Scarborough Shoal.”

Aquino earlier tried to use the Navy to assert the rights of the Philippines over Scarborough, but China responded by sending more of its ships to the shoal.

China also began building artificial islands in the West Philippine Sea, which is reportedly already being militarized by Beijing.

The US has conducted patrols and freedom of navigation exercises in the West Philippine Sea but has not stopped China from reportedly arming its artificial islands. CBB/rga

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On July 12, 2016 a ruling of the Permanent Court of Arbitration in the Hague said China’s nine-dash line claim (shown above) was invalid and not recognized in international law.


China ‘blatantly disregarding’ code of conduct, agreements it made in South China Sea

March 12, 2015

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MANILA, Philippines – China’s reclamation in the West Philippine Sea reflects its “blatant disregard” of the Declaration of Conduct (DOC) of claimants involved in the territorial row, the Department of National Defense (DND) said on Thursday.

photo 1-12

DND spokesman Peter Galvez noted that the DOC signed in 2002 clearly prohibits activities that would cause tensions and change the status quo in disputed areas.

“We’re so worried. From the start, this has caused serious concern. But we are holding on to our diplomatic protest and the arbitration to address these issues,” Galvez said in an interview.

“This is an indisputable proof of blatant disregard of the agreement reached with China,” he added, referring to the DOC.

Galvez said he has seen photos showing mall-like structures being built in Burgos (Gaven) and Calderon (Cuarteron) Reefs. Both reefs are located within the Philippines’ 200-nautical mile exclusive economic zone.

The Philippines has new neighbors

“In Cuarteron, the building is as huge as MoA (Mall of Asia). They also built an airstrip. In Gaven, the structure is as huge as (SM) North Edsa,” Galvez said.

Galvez said the photos were only taken last month. He maintained that the Philippines would continue to adhere to the DOC while asserting its territorial rights through peaceful means.

China has stepped up construction projects in disputed areas to assert its territorial claim, which spans virtually the entire West Philippine Sea.

The Asian superpower is achieving significant progress in its construction projects in Kennan (Hughes), Mabini (Johnson South) and Burgos (Gaven) Reefs, areas that are within Philippine territory.

Photo: A Chinese Coast Guard ship watches over China’s oil rig HS 981 China near Vietnam in May 2014. The Vietnamese government complained that the rig was in Vietnamese waters but could nothing to chase China away in the face of hundreds of Chinese vessels.

The Philippines, one of the weakest in the region in terms of military might, has challenged China’s “excessive” territorial claim before an international arbitral tribunal.

The Chinese government has defended the reclamation in disputed areas, saying these are not directed against any country.

“We are not like some countries which have carried out ‘illegal building’ in other people’s home, and we won’t accept unwarranted remarks about work on our own home,” Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said in a recent press conference in Beijing.

Wang Yi, China’s foreign minister, gives a press conference following an NPC meeting on Mar. 8. Photo by Xinhua
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The Philippines has been reporting on China’s activities in the West Philippine Sea. Here: A China Jianghu class frigate on patrol

A Chinese amphibious transport warship of the Yuting II class

China dredger Tian Jing Hao

Chinese fishermen


 (Contains links to several related articles)

 (Contains links to other related articles)




A screenshot of IHS Jane’s Defense Weekly that shows China’s reclamation work is well advanced on several reefs in the Spratly Islands in the East Sea, the Vietnamese term for the South China Sea.

Reclamation: China has already turned a worthless piece of coral into an island big enough for an airstrip at Fiery Cross reef in the South China Sea

Screenshot of a Chinese Coast Guard vessel ramming a Vietnamese vessel in May 2014

China has already established an East China Sea ADIZ as depicted in the cart above

China says it owns all the South China Sea north of the “nine dash line” shown above

China claims ownership of about 90% of the South China Sea. Most of China’s neighbors believe otherwise.

The chart below shows the area declared by China on 1 January 2014 as “an area under China’s jurisdiction.” China says “foreign fishing vessels” can only enter and work in this area with prior approval from China. Vietnam, the Philippines and others have said they will not comply with China’s law. Experts say, this could be the geographic area that China could declare an air defense identification zone (ADIZ).


Philippines sentences 12 Chinese fishermen to jail — In harsh court decision

August 5, 2014

PUERTO PRINCESA Philippines (Reuters) – A Philippine court on Tuesday found 12 Chinese fishermen guilty of illegal fishing in Philippine waters, sending them to jail for six to 12 years, the first convictions since tension between the neighbors flared over rival claims in the South China Sea.

File photo: An aerial photo shows a Chinese fishing boat which ran aground off Tubbataha reef, in Palawan island, western Philippines. (AFP/PNFW)

Philippine rangers caught the fishermen after their boat ran aground on Tubbataha Reef in April 2013. The reef is not claimed by China but the jailing of the 12 is likely to put more strain on already tense ties.

A Public Attorney’s Office (PAO) defending the men said he would appeal.

“We believe the Chinese fishermen are innocent, they did not intend to go into Philippine territory but was forced by bad weather,” the lawyer told reporters.

The fishermen sat quietly listening to the verdict which court staff read in English and translated to Chinese.

The captain was sentenced to prison for 12 years while his men were sentenced to from six to 10 years. Judge Ambrosio de Luna also ordered them to pay a fine of $100,000 (£59,287).

The fishermen were also carrying a cargo of pangolins, which is an endangered mammal, like an anteater, eaten in China.

They had said they were on their way from Indonesia to China when bad weather forced them to take shelter at the reef, and they were not aware they were in Philippine territory.

China claims almost the entire South China Sea, an area believed rich in oil and gas deposits and fishery resources. Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Vietnam and Taiwan also claims the sea where about $5 trillion of ship-borne trade passes every year.

Last year, the Philippines filed an arbitration case against China in The Hague over their rival claims in the sea.

(Additional reporting By Manuel Mogato; Editing by Robert Birsel)


FILE - Protesters wearing snorkels and masks show the thumbs-down sign during a protest rally in front of the Chinese Consular office at the financial district of Makati city, metro Manila, April 10, 2013.

FILE – Protesters wearing snorkels and masks show the thumbs-down sign during a protest rally in front of the Chinese Consular office at the financial district of Makati city, metro Manila, April 10, 2013.

A court in the Philippines has given long jail sentences to 12 Chinese fishermen for fishing illegally in the South China Sea.

It is the latest incident likely to raise tensions between Manila and Beijing, which have competing claims in the resource-rich region.

The Chinese fishermen were arrested in April 2013 after their boat ran aground at the Tubbataha Reef in the western Philippines.

The coral reef is well within Philippine territory and is not claimed by China. The fishermen say they were taking refuge there during a storm.

The captain of the boat was given 12 years in prison. The 11 others received jail sentences ranging from six to 10 years.

The men face possible additional jail time because they were found in possession of a protected species of mammal called a pangolin.

The men, who also received a $100,000 fine each, pleaded not guilty to all the charges.

China claims nearly the entire South China Sea, putting it at odds with several of its neighbors, including the Philippines.

The Philippines earlier this year challenged the legality of China’s claims at an international tribunal in The Hague. Beijing was angered by the move and has refused to participate in the case.

China is Looting The Philippines; Probably With The Assistance of Corrupt Philippine Officials

October 30, 2013

Is Zambales province still Philippine territory, or now China’s? Zambaleños ask that, because local officials are giving away their natural resources to East Asia’s neighborhood bully.

By Jarius Bondoc (The Philippine Star) |  October 30, 2013

In Barangay Maloma, San Felipe town, thrives black-sand mining by Chinese. They destroyed the fields and mountains to build a seaport big enough to accommodate their poacher vessels. While berthed the ships siphon the black sand into the hold with huge hoses, then sail away. No taxes or royalties are paid — only bribes to the very officials tasked to keep them out. In China magnetite is separated from the sand, for use in steel and telecoms products. That includes weapons and surveillance systems. China deploys such materiél to invade Bajo de Masinloc (Scarborough Shoal), 123 miles from Zambales’ shore.

Breaking news on June 20, 2014:

Same with the unabated nickel mining in Masinloc and Sta. Cruz towns. Disguised as small-scale, giant Chinese miners haul off thousands of tons of ore per week. In the home country the metal is extracted, also for weapons and spyware.

The Supreme Court last July ordered Environment and Natural Resources Sec. Ramon Paje and Zambales Gov. Hermogenes Ebdane to stop the pollutive operations. For reasons only they know, the two have not complied.

Last Sunday, Oct. 27, yet another bulk-cargo carrier anchored at dawn in Sta. Cruz’s pier, to load nickel ore. Though Bahamas-registered, the m/v Aqua Atlantic, call sign “C6YF9,” is actually Chinese. Skippered by Capt. Zhang Ke, it has 21 crewmen: 19 Chinese and two Burmese. Its last port of call was Huanghua, in China’s Hebei province.

M/V Aqua Atlantic

The Constitution forbids foreign exploitation of natural resources. As reported in this column, Chinese are able to mine in Zambales via 93 small-scale locals as fronts. Ebdane signed the 93 permits all in one day in 2011. This, although they are outside the province’s suitable People’s Mine, reserved for indigents who use only picks and shovels. He did it by virtue of Paje’s crooked legal opinion that governors may grant such permits even if barred by a 2001 law. The non-lawyer forester Paje opined that although that law repealed a Marcos decree, governors may still follow the latter.

Paje recently reported to President Noynoy Aquino that he has filed lawsuits against Ebdane. Phooey! How can he sue someone whom he virtually authorized to break the law? Such suits are a ploy. Given the country’s unjustly slow litigation process, they are the alibis to skirt the SC’s halt order.

As for the black sand mining, Malacañang’s point man has not been scoring. Presidential Legislative Liaison Officer Manuel Mamba was tasked to stop it, particularly where it thrives most, in his Cagayan home-province. But the Chinese theft of shiploads of sand goes on in Aparri and Gonzaga towns.

Recently NBI agents and state prosecutors arrested and indicted three-dozen Chinese black sand poachers. But that’s in Ilocos Norte, on Cagayan’s opposite side of Luzon, north of Zambales. Reports have it that Paje’s field men allow the sand poaching in Ebdane’s turf.

Zambales mountains, rivers, coastal waters, and air are so dirty due to the illegal mines. Forests have been leveled, and streams drained. Masinloc and Sta. Cruz residents suffer from high incidence of lung and intestinal disease. The adjoining towns are called “the dump truck capital of Asia.” Thousands of ore-laden ten-wheelers line the highway, from the nickel mines to the Chinese-built pier.

Along with San Felipe’s, their seas have been muddied, the mangrove patches poisoned. Fishermen need to venture farther out to sea. But in the vicinity of Bajo de Masinloc, occupying Chinese vessels shoo them away with cannon fire.

Before Japan invaded the Philippines in 1941, it first dispatched spies to case the joint. Japanese engineers, marketers, and gardeners penetrated big plantations and factories, service companies, and homes of high officials. As soon as war broke out, they surfaced in Japanese Imperial Army uniform. Traitors from the Makabayang Pilipino welcomed them with open arms. It’s happening all over again, Modern-day MakaPili collaborate with Chinese economic saboteurs to weaken the Philippines, prelude to the grabbing more shoals, reefs, and banks.


Goro Nickel Mine port in New Caledonia

Philippines Nickel Ore Mine

Crater Lake, Mount Pinatubo, Zambales province, Philippines
FILIPINO WORLDVIEW By Roberto R. Romulo (The Philippine Star) | Updated October 18, 2013

As everyone knows, China continues to reach out overseas for minerals needed to fuel its dramatic economic growth, and long-term prospects show that it will only become more aggressive in its pursuit of mining deals abroad. Our estimated $1-trillion worth of untapped mineral reserves has seen a notable influx of Chinese mining investments in recent years. For the Philippines, Chinese money from legitimate mining companies has been a welcome relief for its troubled mining industry that has seen a flight of investment from Western mining giants on top of a growing list of stale and frozen projects.

Before I proceed further, I must inform that what I am about to describe is based on information derived entirely from industry sources who do not wish to be identified. I understand further that certain senior government officials have been provided similar information.

Most Chinese mining firms operate under the cover of domestic small-scale miners to bypass Philippine mining laws and protocols, as well as to avoid the large capital requirements, fees, and taxes associated with large-scale mining. The Chinese firms circumvent the enormous time and expense of complying with large-scale mining requirements by co-opting a Philippine proxy and purchasing small-scale mining permits or special ore extraction permits for a minimal fee.

The sheer amount of minerals exported from the Philippines to China is further evidence of this exploitation and abuse. The Philippines is already the largest provider of nickel ore imported into China, and the leading provider of gold imported into Hong Kong. Few experts believe the volume of gold and nickel ore going into these territories could be achieved by legitimate mining operations.

The massive export smuggling of minerals to China has led to major tax losses to the Philippines. In 2008, the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) disclosed that an estimated three million metric tons of Philippine mineral ores processed in China were unaccounted for by the Philippines. In June 2012, the DENR sought help from the Presidential Anti-Organized Task Force (PAOCTF) and the Bureau of Customs (BOC) after the Mines and Geosciences Bureau (MGB) reported a 38-percent first quarter decline from the previous year in total metallic mineral production value allegedly due to mineral ore smuggling.

In the second quarter of 2012, the amount of gold sold from small-scale mining to the Central Bank of the Philippines dropped by 98 percent. MGB director Leo Jasareno said the figures showed that gold extracted from the Philippines was likely being sold illegally on the black market or smuggled out of the country. Significantly, official Philippine data reflect legal exports of gold to Hong Kong in both 2010 and 2011 at approximately just three percent of the total volume recorded by Hong Kong authorities.

Hong Kong’s top source of gold imports from 2005 to 2010 was the Philippines. Official Hong Kong data show that Philippine gold shipments hit a record-high of 81,471 kgs in 2010, only slightly dipping to 81,192 kgs in 2011. Conversely, official Philippine data reflect legal exports of gold to Hong Kong in both 2010 and 2011 at approximately just three percent of the total volume recorded by Hong Kong authorities. According to UN trade data, Hong Kong’s official figures of Philippine gold in 2011 were 11 times the Philippine numbers for gold shipments to Hong Kong.

Corruption and manipulation of the law has rendered national agencies such as the DENR helpless in regulating and monitoring small-scale mining operations, as provincial mining and regulatory bodies often become rubber-stamp institutions of local politicians in cahoots with the mining companies.

I was also informed that the Catholic Church, environmentalists, and other activists are not particularly aggressive in directing their ire at Chinese mining practices in the Philippines.

At the end of the day, it is my fervent prayer that the national government will prevail over the corrupt local officials’ heinous practices which has wrought irreparable damage to its constituents, the environment and the nation.

Is The U.S. Committed To The Defense of the Philippines? Even If The Problems Come from China?

August 14, 2013

By:  Azer N. Parrocha, Philippine News Agency August 14, 2013 8:26 AM

Balikatan 2012 joint US-Philippines military exercises in Palawan. (DJ Sta. Ana) The online news portal of TV5

MANILA, Philippines – The stronger presence of US military troops might suggest that the US government is serious in helping the Philippines under a mutual defense treaty, but Senator Alan Cayetano says it will only be assured if the US makes a decisive statement to commit to defending Philippine territory.

Cayetano told Senate reporters in an ambush interview on Tuesday that since the treaty was after all mutual, would it also mean the US is ready to defend Philippine territory against China?

“Let’s not talk about their increased presence until they can answer the questions: Will they defend us? Will they participate? Will they help us if we have problems with our dispute with China?” Cayetano said.

The majority leader explained that he had no problems with the US pursuing its own interests as long as the Philippines, in turn, benefited from them as well.

“Our interest right now is that military hardware and modernization is expensive, they (the US) should share expenses for this so we can concentrate on economic development,” he added.

“China boats keep coming in and out of the country. I have not heard a straight answer from the US that they would be there and repel any encroachment in territory. I might be wrong, but I think I am speaking for majority of the Filipinos,” Cayetano said.

He added the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) should also set their own agenda regarding the matter.

“Any country would pursue its own interests,” Cayetano said. “We have to make sure that the so-called Big Brother will really be there [for us].”