DND officer-in-charge, Undersecretary Jose Faustino Jr. (PNA photo by Joey Razon)

MANILA – The Department of National Defense (DND) on Thursday said it will coordinate with the National Task Force for the West Philippine Sea (NTF-WPS) to address incursions in the country's territorial waters.

"Right now, we have sightings of some particularly Chinese militia vessels and some of the Chinese Coast Guard in the contested areas and through the National Task Force for the West Philippine Sea, which is chaired by the National Security Adviser, we coordinate with the NTF-WPS on how to address these incursions," said DND officer-in-charge, Undersecretary Jose Faustino Jr. in a press briefing.

He maintained that the DND is committed to protecting the country's territorial integrity.

"Our sovereignty is inviolable and we have to protect our territorial integrity so that's it, from those lines, the President, we will toe the line kung ano yung kanyang mga statement (as to the statements that he made) regarding the West Philippine Sea," he added.

Faustino said it is likely that they will follow the policy set up by the past administration on the matter.

"Sa maritime security, right now, nung panahon ni President (Rodrigo) Duterte, nakita nyo yung collaboration, paano tayo nakipag-collaborate sa China (In terms of maritime security, right now, during the time of President Rodrigo Duterte, you saw how we collaborated with China) in opening up other avenues ng cooperation dito sa (here in the) West Philippine Sea and I think it's the same because of the policy of the President (Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr.), our foreign policy, an independent foreign policy, is basically the same," he added

He also stressed that the department is for the peaceful resolution of the conflict in the WPS.

"What we want is a rules-based International order in these areas and we support that," he added.

In June, Manila filed another diplomatic protest over Beijing's activities in the Ayungin Shoal, including the installation of buoys blocking its entrance.

In a report dated June 10, the Department of Foreign Affairs said Chinese Coast Guard vessels have shadowed Philippine boats on a rotation and reprovision mission.

Last July 12, Manila marked the sixth anniversary of the landmark 2016 ruling of the Permanent Court of Arbitration which ruled in its favor and rejected Beijing's claim of historic rights to resources within the nine-dash line in the WPS.

Further, it upheld the Philippines' sovereign rights and jurisdiction in its exclusive economic zone (EEZ). (PNA)