Año: PH buoys in WPS provocative? Laser pointers are the real provocateurs
MANILA, Philippines — Saying it is the sovereign right of the country, National Security Adviser Eduardo Año on Friday dismissed accusations that the installation of buoys in the West Philippine Sea (WPS) is a provocative move.
The real provocateurs, Año said, are those who point lasers and those who perform dangerous maneuvers in the WPS.
“Ang sinasabi nating provocation, yung mga nag de-dangerous maneuver, nagle-laser pointing, ‘yung mga nagba-blocking sa path ng ating vessels, yung mga naghahabol ng fishermen,” Año said in an ambush interview in Manila, where he attended the celebration of Philippine Navy’s 125th anniversary.
(When we say ‘provocation,’ it’s when they do the dangerous maneuvers, laser pointing, blocking the path of vessels and those who chase fishermen.)
“We have to put it into perspective, yun ang tinatawag na mga provocation. As a coastal nation, it is our responsibility, so wala tayong nakikita dito na provocation, malayong-malayo,” he added.
(We have to put it into perspective. That’s what you call provocation. As a coastal nation, it is our responsibility, this is very far from being provocative.)
Año did not explicitly identify these “provocateurs.”
But it can be recalled that last February 6, a Chinese Coast Guard (CCG) vessel illuminated a green light twice toward the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) vessel, which was supporting a rotation and resupply mission of the Philippine Navy in Ayungin Shoal in the WPS.
On April 29, a CCG vessel also blocked a PCG vessel that was sailing toward Ayungin Shoal where the derelict Philippine Navy ship BRP Sierra Madre serves as one of the country’s outposts in the WPS.
PCG has installed five additional navigational buoys off the Philippine-occupied islands of Patag (Flat), Kota (Loaita), Panata (Lankiam Cay), and the fishing grounds of Balagtas (Irving) Reef and Julian Felipe (Whitsun) Reef.
This move was slammed by Vietnam and China, with the former proceeding to deploy their buoy vessel in the WPS.
Despite this, Año said PCG will continue to install buoys in the WPS.
“Tuloy pa rin yan, (that will push through) in accordance with the plan,” Año said when asked if the country will install more buoys.
Año added, “we are not the aggressor here, we are not the provocateur here. In fact, we are just ensuring that we are following international law and making sure that we are exerting our sovereignty.”
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