MANILA -- The country will continue patrolling the West Philippine Sea (WPS), Department of National Defense (DND) Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said Thursday.

He added that this will be the thrust of the defense establishment for the coming year.

"We will still continue with our activities there, nagpapatrolya tayo (we patrol) regularly, so we will continue on strengthening our islands. Meron tayong siyam na (We have nine) islands, the people at the (BRP) Sierra Madre (a grounded landing ship tank) will still be there. (Continuous) pa rin yung ating replacement ng tao regularly plus yung resupply nila. (The replacement of people and resupply is continuous)," Lorenzana said.

Also, the DND chief said they also keep protesting if they see any actions of the Chinese that are inconsistent with Philippine national interest.

When asked to expound on what he means by "strengthening our islands", Lorenzana said this refers to improvements on the housing accommodation for troops deployed there, especially in Pag-asa Island.

"Meron tayong pera kasing nakalaan na yung mga tirahan ng ating mga sundalo eh kasi ngayon mga kubo-kubo lang yun eh, bigyan naman natin sila ng magandang tirahan, mga barracks, especially dun sa (We have allotted funds for the shelter of our troops because right now, they only have huts there. We should give them good shelters, barracks, especially in) Pag-asa. At the end of next year, we expect the runway to be repaired and we are doing the beaching ramp,” the DND chief said, adding that the ramp is already 42 percent completed. 

Once completed, the ramp will enable them to bring in the necessary materials and equipment to repair the runway. (PNA)