MANILA, Apr 20 (Mabuhay) — Breaking his silence on the recent tension in the West Philippine Sea, President Rodrigo Duterte said nothing will happen even if he sails to the disputed waters, which China claims are theirs.
“Maski na ilang balik natin dun wala mangyayari because we are not in the possession of the sea. . . .Even if you go there and claim it, walang mangyayari, kanila talaga eh, sa isip nila kanila,” Duterte said in his televised Cabinet briefing Monday.
The President said claiming possession of the area by the Philippines would be “bloody.”
“The issue of West Philippine Sea remains a question forever until such time that we can take it back. Ang akin dyan is, walang iba, gera lang,” he said.
“We can retake it only by force, there is no way that we can get it back ‘yan tawag na Philippine Sea without any bloodshed. …You now the cost of war, and if we go there to find out and assert jurisdiction, it would be bloody. It would result in violence that we cannot maybe win,” he said.
Tension between the Philippines and China rose anew because of the presence of Chinese vessels in the Julian Felipe Reef. The Philippines has filed a series of diplomatic protest on this incident.
Last week, the National Task Force on the West Philippine Sea (NTF-WPS) reported its patrols have spotted 240 Chinese militia vessels scattered in the territorial waters off Kalayaan in Palawan and in the Philippines exclusive economic zone.
NTF-WPS estimated that the continued presence of Chinese fishing vessels could catch one ton of fish amounts to a conservative total of 240,000 kilograms of fish illegally taken from Philippine waters.
“These acts fall under illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing,” it said.
The Department of Foreign Affairs earlier summoned the Chinese Ambassador to the country to tackle its concerns over the presence of Chinese boats at the Julian Felipe Reef, which caused tension between the two Asian countries.(MNS)