Metro Manila, Philippines— Amid heightened geopolitical tensions, President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. said the Philippines will not relinquish any of its territory and will uphold its sovereignty.
“This country will not lose one inch of its territory. We will continue to uphold our territorial integrity and sovereignty in accordance with our Constitution and with international law,” Marcos said in a speech before Philippine Military Academy alumni on Saturday.
“We will work with our neighbors to secure the safety and security of our people,” he added.
China has continually defied the 2016 Hague Ruling which nullified Beijing’s claim over the West Philippine Sea, and has taken numerous actions against Filipino fisherfolk and coast guard within Philippine maritime territory.
“The country has seen heightened geopolitical tensions that do not conform to our ideals of peace and threaten the security and stability of the country, of the region, and of the world,” Marcos said.
A Chinese coast guard vessel recently aimed a military-grade laser at a Philippine Coast Guard ship, and temporarily blinded members of the Filipino crew and disrupted a resupply mission they were conducting.
Despite China’s defense that the move was restrained, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) described it as “destabilizing in terms of the peace and stability of the region.” The United States, Australia, and Japan have similarly condemned the act.
In a media briefing after his speech, Marcos told reporters that the laser pointing incident was “only a part of what we are seeing as intensifying or escalating actions of the maritime militia of China.”
“We have to find a way around this because if China and the Philippines are such close friends, these are not the kind of incidents we should be talking about between the president and the ambassador,” he told the media.
After the laser pointing incident, Marcos summoned Chinese Ambassador Huang Xilian to express his concern over China’s recent transgressions.
Meanwhile, in response to growing tensions in different parts of the world, Marcos earlier said it was possible that a strengthened tripartite agreement between the Philippines, Japan, and the United States would be established.