MANILA, Philippines- Iginiit ng Armed Forces of the Philippines nitong Biyernes na matagumpay ang joint maritime at air patrols nito sa US troops sa West Philippine Sea sa kabila ng pagbuntot ng Chinese warship.
“We consider the joint maritime and air patrols between the AFP and the US INDOPACOM a success. We feel we have met the objectives… We are confident that we are now more able to operate with our ally, the US,” pahayag ni AFP chief of staff General Romeo Brawner Jr.
Sinabi niya na dalawang Philippine ships at isang US vessel ang magkasamang naglalayag patungo sa northern Palawan nang maobserbahan nila na sinusundan sila ng Chinese People’s Liberation Army Navy vessel halos 6.5 nautical miles ang layo.
Hindi nagsagawa ang Chinese ship ng anumang dangerous maneuver at inaasahan na umano ang pagmanman nito, base kay Brawner.
“It was considered during the planning process. We expected this already. We are also thankful that there was no untoward incident during the whole joint patrols, all three days,” anang military chief.
“Matagal na nilang [China] ginagawa ang pag-shadow, it’s not just our ships, but even other ships in the area—those of Malaysia, Vietnam. This goes with their narrative na sa kanila ang South China Sea as bounded by the 10-dash line,” patuloy niya.
Giit pa ni Brawner, hindi isinagawa ang joint patrols laban sa China, na umano’y nang-harass sa Philippine vessels sa resupply missions kamakailan sa Ayungin Shoal.
“Isang tinesting natin doon ay ang interoperability of our navy and air force… We were able to achieve that: interoperability with our ally. We’re very happy with the results of the joint maritime and air patrols,” sabi ng AFP chief.
“This is one way for us to promote the rules-based international order. We believe that in the conduct of the joint patrols, we have to follow international laws and rules. We have done that and by doing that, we are telling the world that this is possible—it’s possible to operate within our EEZ without necessarily harassing other countries. This is one message we are telling,” dagdag niya. RNT/SA