Government to defend Philippine maritime territory, help Filipino fisherfolk – Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos Jr

2024 February 28

MANILA – The government will continue defending the Philippines’ maritime territory and helping the Filipino fishermen, President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. said Wednesday.

Marcos issued the statement, in response to recent developments in the West Philippine Sea (WPS) where there is a reported presence of a Chinese warship and a notable surge in electronic communications disruptions affecting the Philippine vessels.

Speaking to reporters before flying to Canberra, Australia, Marcos said the current situation in the WPS is “worrisome”.

“Because there are two elements to that. One is that, dati Coast Guard lang ng China ang gumagalaw dun sa area natin, ngayon may Navy na, sumama pa ang mga fishing boat so nagbabago ang sitwasyon (before, it’s just the China’s Coast Guard being monitored in our area. Now, there’s the Navy and fishing boats so the situation is changing),” Marcos said.

Despite this, Marcos maintained that he would not relinquish any Philippine territory.

He also assured the Filipino fisherfolk of the government’s continued support.

“We will just really defend our maritime territory. We continue to support all our fishermen, our fisherfolk who make our living from this fishing grounds at patuloy naman natin tutulungan sila (and we will continue to help them),” Marcos said.

“So that’s the basic principle there, the fishers must be allowed to fish in their traditional fishing grounds which belong in the maritime territory of the Philippines,” he added.

The Philippine Navy on Tuesday said it is determining the source of interference affecting electronics and communications equipment of Filipino ships in the WPS, following an increase in the incidents.

The PN also spotted a Chinese Navy warship, China Coast Guard vessels, and Chinese fishing boats in the Philippine waters. 

Ruth Abbey Gita-Carlos (PNA)