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Sunday, July 14, 2024

PH won’t go to war, be intimidated — PBBM

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Hails PN sailors for showing restraint

President Marcos said Sunday the Philippines “will not be intimidated” by anyone but also said that the government will not resort to war to resolve the territorial dispute between the Philippines and China.

“We are not in the business to instigate wars – our great ambition is to provide a peaceful and prosperous life for every Filipino. This is the drum beat. This is the principle that we live by and that we march by,” President Marcos said in remarks at the military’s Western Command in Palawan yesterday.

“We refuse to play by the rules that force us to choose sides in a great power competition. No government that truly exists in the service of the people will invite danger or harm to lives and livelihood,” he added.

During his visit, the President awarded medals to 80 sailors involved in the resupply mission, including one whose thumb was severed, when their boat was attacked by the Chinese coast guard in Ayungin shoal.

The Philippine military has demanded the return of the guns and equipment seized by the Chinese coast guard.

“We have never, never in the history of the Philippines, yielded to any foreign power,” Marcos said to applause, while pledging to “continue to exercise our freedoms and rights in support of our national interest, in accordance with international law.”

“Our calm and peaceful disposition should not be mistaken for acquiescence.”

President Marcos called on the Western Command to continue to fulfill their duty of defending the Philippines with integrity and respect.

“And that is why, in defending the nation, we stay true to our Filipino nature that we would like to settle all these issues peacefully. And in the performance of our duties, we will not resort to the use of force or intimidation, or deliberately inflict injury or harm to anyone,” he said.

Beijing has insisted its coast guard behaved in a “professional and restrained” way and blamed Manila for the clash.

In previous confrontations Chinese forces have used water cannon and military-grade lasers and collided with Filipino resupply vessels and their escorts.

It was the latest and most serious incident in a series of escalating confrontations between Chinese and Philippine ships in recent months as Beijing steps up efforts to push its claims to nearly all of the strategically located waterway.

Second Thomas Shoal (known as Ayungin Shoal in Manila) lies about 200 kilometers (120 miles) from Palawan and more than 1,000 kilometers from China’s nearest major landmass, Hainan island.

The confrontation is fueling growing concern that the dispute could drag in the United States, which has a mutual defense pact with Manila.

The Philippine government said this week that it does not consider Monday’s clash as an “armed attack” that would trigger a provision in the treaty for Washington to come to Manila’s aid. With AFP

Editor’s Note: This is an updated article. Originally posted with the headline: “Marcos tells Filipino soldiers not to adopt war mentality vs China amid WPS row”

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