‘Filipinos must embrace ownership of West Philippine Sea’

LAPU-LAPU CITY, Cebu (PIA) — National Security Council (NSC) Deputy Director-General Nestor Herico is calling on Filipinos to embrace the nation’s ownership of the West Philippine Sea and defend what rightly belongs to them.

“We are always advocating and espousing for every Filipino citizen to defend the WPS, and what we are fighting for is for our younger generations to come,” he said during a strategic communication workshop with Philippine Information Agency regional heads and information officers from regions 6, 7, and 8 held in Cebu.

“China is using its illegal tactics and has deployed several Chinese maritime militias, the Chinese Coast Guard, and the People’s Liberation Army to assert their ownership of the WPS,” Herico said.

President Marcos, in his recent statement, said he has met his security and defense officials and submitted the relevant “requirements” to international allies who have expressed their support to the Philippine government against China.

“We seek no conflict with any nation, more so nations that purport and claim to be our friends, but we will not be cowed into silence, submission, or subservience. Filipinos do not yield,” the chief executive added.

Recently, according to Herico, television news showed a Chinese vessel using water cannons to drive away a Philippine vessel, causing injuries to three military personnel, while on another occasion, four personnel of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) were injured.

National Security Council (NSC) Deputy Director and retired MGen. Nestor Herico said China’s aggressive acts against civilians and military in the West Philippine Sea (WPS) are threats to Philippine national security.

Herico said the issue of the right to benefit from the rich resources of the WPS was already resolved after the 2016 arbitral ruling of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), which states the area is within the exclusive economic zone of the Philippines.

“What China did was localize their own law and say that because of the nine-dash line, the South China Sea is theirs. This was already ruled out as an excessive claim. They don’t have the right to be there,” Herico said. (AAL/Lljr/PIA 6 Negros Occidental)

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