SOVEREIGNTY

AFP CHIEF WANTS PHILIPPINES TO BUILD STRUCTURES IN WEST PHILIPPINE SEA

By ROGER M. BALANZA

If they can do it, we should do it.

This is the line, tit-for-tat, taken by Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) chief Gen. Cirilito Sobejana as he deplored China’s continued building of infrastructure in islands in the West Philippine Sea, which is part of the country’s territory.

Sobejana said at a press briefing on Thursday, that he would propose building structures in WPS, like what China has been doing, to assert Philippine sovereignty in the area.

Sobejana said he had already sent his proposal to the National Task Force in the West Philippine Sea (NTF-WPS for its consideration.

“We are entertaining the idea, subject to the wisdom of NTF-WPS, of building structures in those areas like what China is doing,” Sobejana said.

“We are already looking for ways how to strengthen our position in that part of our country,” Sobejana said.

“The reason we are not building there is because we have an agreement that no one should build and that was violated by China,” Sobejana said. “So we will build starting now. That is subject to the NTF-WPS,” he said.

Sobejana said building and occupying features in the South China Sea (SCS), which includes WPS, is prohibited by the 2002 Declaration on Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea.

Countries, like China, with claims to SCS had agreed through the declaration to use peaceful means to settle conflicts to prevent regional instability.

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