Lt. Gen. Bartolome Vicente Bacarro, Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP), reiterated his directive to the Philippine Navy (PN) to continue defending the country’s maritime domain against foreign intrusions.
“It is very imperative that we continue to protect, defend and secure the maritime domain from all foreign intrusions while vigorously pursuing surface, subsurface and airspace outreach to the high seas and beyond. beyond,” Bacarro told sailors and marines. during his recent visit to Navy Headquarters at Naval Base Jose Andrada in Manila.
The AFP chief also highlighted the advice of the Commander-in-Chief, President Ferdinand Marcos Jr., on the sanctity of the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the country in which “the Philippine Navy plays the most crucial role in safeguarding our seas and our borders”.
Following his recent appointment as the country’s first military officer, Bacarro visited the main military camps in the country to relay his priority impulse to the main services of AFP.
Marcos, in his first State of the Nation Address (SONA) on July 25, said he “will not preside over any process that will give up even one square centimeter of territory…to a foreign power.”
The Philippines has an ongoing territorial dispute with China in the Western Philippine Sea (WPS), a resource-rich body of water located in the former’s Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ).
An arbitration award was issued by the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) in Manila in 2016, rejecting Beijing’s excessive claims in the WPS, but the East Asian military superpower continues to ignore it and do reclamation work in disputed waters.
The management of the Ministry of National Defense (DND) under the direction of the officer in charge Jose Faustino Jr., former chief of staff of the AFP, chose to remain “in the diplomatic field” and to engage foreign counterparts through active dialogue “to maintain the status quo.”
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