Navy exec: China has no right to dictate PH actions within EEZ

By Priam Nepomuceno

June 10, 2024, 12:30 pm Updated on June 10, 2024, 2:12 pm

<p>Philippine Navy spokesperson for the West Philippine Sea, Commodore Roy Vincent Trinidad<em>(PNA file photo by Priam F. Nepomuceno)</em></p>

Philippine Navy spokesperson for the West Philippine Sea, Commodore Roy Vincent Trinidad(PNA file photo by Priam F. Nepomuceno)

MANILA – China is not in the position to dictate any terms or conditions on what actions the Philippines can take in its exclusive economic zone (EEZ), a ranking Philippine Navy (PN) official said on Sunday.

PN spokesperson for the West Philippine Sea (WPS) Commodore Roy Vincent Trinidad made this remark after the Chinese Foreign Ministry said Manila needs Beijing's permission to access Ayungin Shoal.

This came out after China tried to justify the aggressive actions of its Coast Guard against a Filipino vessel evacuating three sick soldiers from the BRP Sierra Madre (LS-57).

"In the first place they should not be in our EEZ, secondly they have no right to demand, (also) they have no right to set any conditions, in the first place they should be out of our EEZ," he said in a media interview.

Trinidad also said they would not comply with China's conditions.

Earlier, National Security Adviser (NSA) Eduardo M. Año said Ayungin Shoal lies within the Philippines' EEZ and the country does not need permission from China to conduct any activities in its territory.

He said the Philippines "do not and will never need China’s approval for any of our activities therein".

The NSA also called such actions "barbaric and inhumane".

He also added that the Philippines will continue to maintain and supply its outposts in the WPS, including the BRP Sierra Madre, without seeking permission from any other nation.

WPS issue now a global concern

Trinidad, meanwhile, said the WPS issue is now a global concern as proven by the strong support the Philippines is getting from other nations across the globe.

"It's a problem that is not only faced by the Philippines, it's a global concern, all nations using the maritime domain, kaya nga marami tayong nakukuhang mga suporta mula sa ibang bansa sapagkat alam nila na nagkataon because of geography, tayo ang nasa front-line and ayaw nila tayo ang bumigay because ang stake dito is respect for international law (that is why we are getting a lot of support from other countries because they know that due to geography, we are at the front-line and they don't want us to give in because the stake here is respect for international law)," he said in a radio interview on Monday.

He said Manila will continue to stand for its sovereignty and sovereign rights.

He said aside from using the military approach, the Philippines can use diplomatic means and other methods to take a stand on the issue.

"But for the PN (Philippine Navy), we have to assert our right for the continued conduct of patrols and reprovisioning and rotation of troops (aboard the) BRP Sierra Madre," he said. (PNA)