The Armed Forces vowed to continue patrols in the West Philippine Sea and push through with plans of buying two more Navy vessels despite the current “friendly atmosphere” in the area.
“Mandate natin na pangalagaan ang resources ng ating kapuluan… we will have to perform that mandate, tuluy-tuloy tayo,” AFP chief Gen. Eduardo Oban told reporters in Camp Aguinaldo Friday night.
The military top brass made the remark when asked how the AFP will act after President Benigno Aquino III and Chinese President Hu Jintao agreed to resolve their countries’ overlapping maritime claims peacefully.
“Probably the effect of such cordial relations at a policy level, bababa ‘yun, magta-translate into an updated resolution to any conflict or any dispute in the West Philippine Sea,” Oban said.
“We hope for the best that everything will turn out very well,” he said, when asked whether there were no concerns on intrusions by Chinese vessels on Philippine territories while talks on disputes are being held.
Chinese vessels were spotted unloading construction materials at the Amy Douglas Shoal-Iroquois Reef, near Philippine-occupied islands on May 21 and 24 while Chinese Defense Minister Liang Guanglie was visiting Manila and meeting with Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin.
Meanwhile, Oban said the Armed Forces is pushing through with its plan to buy two more weather high-endurance cutter (Whec) gunships like the BRP Gregorio del Pilar.
“The second one we hope we can get early next year… we hope na mag-progress ‘yung ating pakikipag-usap para makuha natin, if there will be available Whec,” he said. (John Roson)
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