President Rodrigo Duterte warns of war erupting should any foreign country conduct fishing or research activities in the Philippine Rise without the government’s permission.
Duterte’s threat came weeks after he ordered the Philippine Navy to fire on foreign poachers found inside the country’s exclusive economic zone.
In a speech before soldiers in Marawi City, Duterte again asserted Manila’s sovereign rights over the resource-rich continental shelf.
“Dito sa eastern [part], yung Philippine Rise, atin talaga ‘yan,” he said, adding that a Philippine Marine battalion has already been deployed near the area.
The Armed Forces of the Philippines had earlier deployed a Philippine Marine battalion at Port Irene in Sta. Ana, Cagayan.
Duterte insisted that any foreign entity who wants to conduct scientific research in the Philippine Rise should first secure permission from the Philippine government.
“Sinabi ko talaga, walang mag-experiment na diyan hangga’t wala silang permiso galing sa akin,” he said.
Duterte said it would be for the AFP to recommend which foreign country may be given permission to conduct scientific research or even fishing activity in the underwater plateau off Aurora province.
“[T]he armed forces will have to recommend it. Otherwise no, I will not allow fishing, I will not, magka-giyera tayo,” he said.
In 2012, the United Nations (UN) ruled that the Philippine Rise was part of the country’s exclusive economic zone, which gave the Philippines “sovereign rights” to explore and exploit the resources in the area.
“There’s no one else trying to mess around in the Philippine Rise other than China. If those “war” remarks aren’t directed at China, then to whom and what are those threats for anyway? It appears to me that the preaident is creating an image that is imaginary, and making a fool out of our soldiers with nonsense and blank promises.”
Join the Conversation