India to support PH in WPS dispute — Tolentino
MANILA, Philippines — Senator Francis Tolentino on Thursday said that India is siding with the Philippines in its continuing dispute with China on the West Philippine Sea (WPS).
However, Tolentino emphasized that their level of intention to conduct joint patrols with the Philippines has not yet been expressed.
“Yesterday (Wednesday), another big country has agreed to join us and sided with us in what we’re fighting for but it has not yet reached that level of intention that we’ll have joint patrol, but they’re siding with us because they believe that what we’re doing is correct,” said Tolentino in a press briefing in the Senate.
“The name of the country is India,” he revealed.
When asked what level of support India is giving the Philippines, Tolentino responded: “They’re with us in our international diplomatic efforts.”
Furthermore, Tolentino opened the possibility of India being able to help in the country’s rice situation.
“Remember, India is the country where we lean heavily in importing rice. Kung sa WPS gusto tayong tulungan siguro tutulungan din tayo sa bigas (If they want to help us in WPS situation, then maybe they will also help us with rice imports),” he added.
Despite making such pronouncements, Tolentino did not share how he received the information.
Both the Philippines and China have been in a long-running maritime dispute after the latter claimed that it owns the entirety of the South China Sea, including portions of the West Philippine Sea with its so-called nine-dash line claim.
The Philippines challenged China’s claim through the International Permanent Court of Arbitration (IPCA) in The Hague in 2013 and won in 2016.