The allegation that President Rodrigo Duterte’s denunciation of China’s actions in the West Philippine Sea was “too little, too late” is unfounded, according to Malacañang.
Cabinet Secretary and Acting Presidential Spokesperson Karlo Nograles refuted allegations of Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya), claiming Duterte has always been consistent in affirming the country’s arbitral victory over China.
“Hindi po totoo lahat ng mga paratang na iyon. [Department of Foreign Affairs] acted swiftly, the President spoke about the issue. Ang resupply boats po natin ay nakarating sa Ayungin Shoal,” Nograles said.
Nograles said that the Philippines had never changed its position on the arbitral ruling before Duterte brought it up during the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN)-China Special Summit.
“I think the President has always been consistent sa UN General Assembly, sa mga Asean Summits. Lagi niyang binabalik-balikan iyong UNCLOS at iyong ating Arbitral Award,” he added.
According to Nograles, Duterte has consistently emphasized the significance of working toward a “peaceful resolution” to maritime issues.
Following allegations that Filipino resupply boats were operating without escorts at the time of the most recent encounter with the Chinese Coast Guard, Nograles stated that it was “just a testament and proof” that Filipinos can sail to the West Philippine Sea.
“‘Yung pagpadala po ng resupply boats at ang pagdating po nila do’n without any escorts is just a testament and proof that we can peacefully supply and resupply our Filipino citizens there,” he said.
The two resupply boats landed safely to the BRP Sierra Madre in Ayungin Shoal at 11 AM on Tuesday, according to Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana.
“The two civilian resupply boats manned by the Philippine Navy arrived at the Sierra Madre in the Ayungin shoal at 11 AM today without any untoward incident,” Lorenzana said.
Ayungin Shoal is part of the Kalayaan Island Group (KIG), which is an integral part of the Philippines, as well as the Philippines’ exclusive economic zone (EEZ) and continental shelf, and over which the Philippines has sovereignty, sovereign rights and jurisdiction.