MANILA – The situation in the West Philippine Sea (WPS) is stable right now as Filipino vessels are able to conduct their patrol without getting in conflict with vessels of other claimant nations.
During the virtual pre-State of the Nation Address (SONA) media launch Wednesday, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said ships from the Philippine Navy, Philippine Coast Guard, and Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources are consistently patrolling the WPS.
"So peaceful diyan, stable sa West Philippine Sea ngayon (it is peaceful and stable at the WPS)," Lorenzana said.
Also, the defense chief added that Chinese ships earlier spotted massing on the WPS have largely dispersed but there are still some near the area.
"Itong ginagawa naman natin dito sa West Philippine Sea ay mina-manage natin iyong sitwasyon, dahil China naman ay nag-i-insist na sila ay may claim, may claim din tayo. Sa katunayan, hindi lang China at saka Pilipinas ang may claim diyan, kung hindi kasama na rin ang Vietnam, Taiwan at saka Malaysia. So maraming ‘claimants’ diyan. (what we are doing now in the WPS is we are managing the situation as China is insisting on their claim, we also have a claim, in fact, China and the Philippines are not the only countries with claims on the WPS, also included are Vietnam, Taiwan, and even Malaysia. There are a lot of claimants there)," Lorenzana said.
He added that the Philippines is talking with other claimant nations to settle the issue.
"Siguro hindi naman natin mapupuwersa itong ayusin kaagad, dahil matatagalan siguro bago magkaroon ng kaayusan itong sigalot na ito sa West Philippine Sea (We cannot force everyone to settle this dispute in the WPS as this will immediately take time)," Lorenzana said. (PNA)