By Deighton Acuin

PHOTO: Philippine Daily Inquirer

“Yan po ang administrasyon ni Presidente Rodrigo Roa Duterte. Ang administrasyon ni Albert Del Rosario noong siya ang DFA [Department of Foreign Affairs], tayo ang pinapalayas. Pero kay Presidente Duterte, tayo ang nagpapalayas.”

Malacañang had this to say when asked for a comment on the radio challenge made by the Philippine Coast Guard on the Chinese vessels anchored at the Sabina Shoal, which is within the country’s exclusive economic zone.

“Tama po na coast guard ang magbantay niyan dahil kabahagi po ‘yan ng ating tanging yaman,” Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque added.

Meanwhile, when asked about the friendship between China and the Philippines regarding the radio challenge, Roque said the incident will not have any bilateral effects since it has happened in the Philippine EEZ.

“Wala po kasi titignan ninyo kung saan nangyari ang insidente. Kung saan nangyari ang insidente, malinaw po nasa loob ‘yan ng ating exclusive economic zone at napakalapit po sa Palawan. Walang kaduda-duda po, tayo lang ang may karapatan sa area na iyon,” Roque said.

Due to the presence of Chinese vessels in the Julian Felipe Reef, the Philippine authorities have been strengthening their patrol in the West Philippine Sea.

The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) has been filing a series of diplomatic protests over the presence of Chinese vessels on parts of the contested islands.