MANILA — China is gravely concerned over the visit to Pag-asa Island last Friday of several Philippine government officials led by National Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana .
Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana has initially said that even before their plane landed on Pag-asa Island last Friday, they received four warnings from the Chinese forces.
However, the official said this is but normal when there are visitors that come to the island.
“Protocol yan, we also reply that we are flying over Philippine territory, so yung challenged na yan, sagutan lang yan. Wala namang untoward incident na nangyari,” Secretary Lorenzana said. (That’s protocol. We also replied that we are flying over Philippine territory. So those challenge responses are required. There has been no untoward incident.)
Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Lu Kang said this move runs counter to the important consensus reached between the two leaderships, President Xi Jinping and President Rodrigo Duterte. It is said that this is in line with resolving the issue in the South China Sea or West Philippine Sea.
But the Department of National Defense (DND) said it is part of the department secretary’s duty to inspect all facilities under his administration.
Armed Forces of the Philippines Chief of Staff General Eduardo Año sees no issues in these.
The official said Pag-asa Island is part of the Philippine territory where military troops are deployed.
Pag-asa Island is part of a municipality in Palawan.
The Department of Foreign Affairs maintained the department has initially stated it is the government’s duty to protect and ensure the security of Filipinos living on the island.
Meanwhile, upon visit to Pag-asa Island Secretary Lorenzana said he is not concerned over China’s reaction on the Philippine government’s move.
“Sagutan lang ng protest yan, so ganun lang muna yan, although we are managing the issues, through protests and dialogue, so wala naman sigurong mangyayarig hindi maganda,” he said. (There will be a series of protests. Although we are managing the issues, through protests and dialogue. So perhaps nothing bad will happen.) — Nel Maribojoc | UNTV News & Rescue
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