MANILA – A ranking Department of National Defense (DND) official said there would be no changes in the military’s handling of matters concerning the West Philippine Sea (WPS).
“I think the handling of the WPS, based on the foreign policy initiated by our chief architect, the President of the Republic (Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr.), remains to continue,” DND Undersecretary for Capability Assessment and Development Angelito M. De Leon said in a briefing Wednesday, shortly after the traditional New Year’s Call of defense and military officials.
This came after President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. named Presidential Peace Adviser Carlito Galvez Jr. and Gen. Andres Centino as the new DND Secretary and Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) chief, respectively.
Galvez succeeded resigned DND officer-in-charge Undersecretary Jose Faustino Jr. while Centino replaced Lt. Gen. Bartolome Vicente Bacarro.
Marcos earlier said not one inch of Philippine territory will be lost under his watch.
In December last year, the DND directed the AFP to beef up its presence in the WPS following Chinese activities monitored near the Pag-asa Island.
The DND also said such actions also endanger the marine environment and undermine the stability of the region.
De Leon, meanwhile, said the morale of DND and AFP personnel remains high based on the turnout of military officials in Wednesday’s event.
“Let me give my assessment based on the turnout in this morning’s (Wednesday) traditional joint DND (AFP) New Year’s Call, all the key commanders were there including the key staff officers of the AFP and the DND civilian bureaus, so I think there is no issue on the morale, the morale remains high, we are focused on our mandate,” he added. (PNA)