Newly-installed Armed Forces chief Lt. Gen. Gregorio Catapang said the military will find ways to continue resupply missions to Philippine-held territories amid China’s tightening of security in the West Philippine (South China) Sea, but will not be “provocative.”
“Our last resupply was very smooth, we hope that the next will be the same. We are continuously monitoring the situation. We will maintain our presence there, we will find ways and means to continue resupply missions,” Catapang said in a briefing Friday.
Catapang made the remark when asked on what the military will do to ensure that other Philippine-held territories will not be sealed off like Panatag (Scarborough) Shoal and heavily-guarded like Ayungin (Second Thomas) Shoal.
Catapang was also asked if the military has monitored Chinese plans to bring an oil rig to Recto (Reed) Bank off Palawan, like what happened in waters off Vietnam.
“As of now we have not monitored any movement of an oil rig,” he said.
Catapang assured that the Philippines will not lose Reed Bank and other Philippine-held territories, but vowed not to be “provocative.”
“We will maintain our diplomacy. We will not be provocative so that there will be no unintentional shooting in the area,” he said.
Catapang held the briefing shortly after being installed by President Benigno Aquino as new Armed Forces chief, in place of retired Gen. Emmanuel Bautista. (John Roson)
– end –