Metro Manila, Philippines — Manila and Washington are ironing out the final details of their joint patrols in the West Philippine Sea which may happen in the next few months, National Security Council Assistant Director General Jonathan Malaya said Friday.

“Of course meron pang mga logistical issues na nire-resolve. May mga ina-iron out na mga issues but I don’t think these are insurmountable,” Malaya said.

[Translation: There are logistical issues being resolved. There are some issues being ironed out.]

“I would think before the end of the year there will be a formal announcement by the DFA [Department of Foreign Affairs] and relevant authorities. Pero [But] as of now I can’t disclose yet,” he added.

Philippine Ambassador to the US Jose Manuel “Babe” Romualdez earlier said the joint patrols were set for this year and that these were not directed at any country. The move is expected to ensure freedom of navigation in the West Philippine Sea.

The government has accused China of bullying Filipino vessels during its incursions in the Philippines’ exclusive economic zone.

Because of Beijing’s harassment and dangerous maneuvers in the contested waters and its continued rejection of the 2016 Hague ruling that nullified its claim over the South China Sea, the Senate adopted a resolution condemning the global superpower.

Meanwhile, China has offered to conduct joint military exercises with the Philippines, though officials are still studying the proposal.