Trillanes: AFP ‘demoralized’ by unchecked China militarization at sea
The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) are “demoralized” because Navy ships have been “restrained” from patrolling the country’s own waters.
Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV revealed this on Monday as he filed a resolution directing the Senate Committee on National Defense to look into China’s installation of missile systems on three disputed reefs that are part of the Spratly Islands being claimed by the Philippines.
“Base sa ating inpormasyon, talagang demoralized ang Sandatahang Lakas dito sa pag se-sellout ni Duterte sa ating mga teritoryo,” Trillanes, a former Navy officer, said in an interview at the Senate.
[Based on our information, the Armed Forces are really demoralized with Duterte’s sellout of our territories.]
“Yung mga Navy ships natin ngayon ay restrained sila. Nire-restrain sila mismo nitong administration na ito. Hindi na nila nagagawa yung mga ginagawa namin noon when I was still in the Navy,” Trillanes said.
[Our Navy ships are now being restrained by this administration. They can no longer do what we we were doing when I was still in the Navy.]
When he was still at the Navy, Trillanes said they were allowed to patrol in the country’s exclusive economic zone.
“Ngayon hindi na sila makagalaw dahil hindi sila pinapayagan nitong Duterte administration,” he said, “So restricted na tayo dito sa ating sariling mga teritoryo.”
[They could not move now because they are being prevented by the Duterte administration. So we are restricted in our own territories.]
In Senate Resolution No. 722, Trillanes branded this alleged militarization of China in the disputed territories as “very alarming” and a “big threat” to the country’s national defense and security.
“While the Philippines has previously forged economic ties with China, the security and defense relationship is a separate matter,” he said in the resolution. “Thus, this alleged militarization of the West Philippine Sea is very alarming and it poses a big threat to the country’s national defense and security.”
In this light, Trillanes stressed the need to assert the country’s sovereignty and territorial integrity and “reassert” its victory in the arbitration case on the disputed territories “by rallying the support and strengthening the alliance with regional partners such as the United States, Japan, Australia and the Asean.”
“Furthermore, there is also a need to ensure the preservation of the country’s defense and security by fast-tracking the implementation of the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement and the strengthening the implementation of existing laws such as the Archipelagic Baseline of the Philippines, the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, among others,” he said in the resolution. /atm
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