Marcos: Allies’ commitment to free, open WPS 'a big deal' for PH

Marcos: Allies’ commitment to free, open WPS ‘a big deal’ for PH

/ 05:22 PM May 10, 2024

MANILA, Philippines — President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. said on Friday that other countries’ commitment to maintaining the freedom of navigation over the West Philippine Sea (WPS) is a big deal for the country.

In an ambush interview in General Santos City, Marcos said the Philippine government is thankful for its allies, like France, whose Navy intends to join the country’s military exercises.

“Well that’s the area that we are monitoring, that’s why we are thankful for the different countries, even if they are not [our neighbors], some come from areas far away from us, but they are always ready to help and if we have problems, they are very supportive — not only in words but also in joining the so-called joint cruises,” Marcos said.


“That’s why it’s a big deal for us because this is the only way we can guarantee that the West Philippine Sea will continuously be open, to what we call freedom of navigation,” he added.


According to the President, maintaining a free and open WPS would be important to the global economy because many countries rely on that route to sustain growth.

“Many ships move along that route for the global economy, and many rely on the global economy so it needs to flourish, and the West Philippine Sea needs to be a free and safe area,” he explained.

“That’s why to everyone who has been helping us, we thank them, the Philippines is also part of that, and we are thankful because this is a huge deal, a huge help in keeping the West Philippine Sea stable and peaceful,” he added.

Just this April 25, the navies of the Philippines, the United States (US), and France started joint patrols in the WPS.  According to Captain Ariel Coloma, spokesperson of the Armed Forces of the Philippines’ Western Command, the Philippines’ BRP Ramon Alcaraz and BRP Davao del Sur left Puerto Princesa, Palawan, at about 9:00 a.m., to start the drills.

READ: Philippines, US, France start joint patrols in West PH Sea


The joint patrols, the Balikatan exercises, and the commitment by foreign navies to help maintain the freedom of navigation in the WPS come when tensions are high between the Philippines and China.

China claims ownership of most of the WPS through its nine-dash line, but the Permanent Court of Arbitration in 2016 said the Philippines has exclusive rights to the WPS, as China has no historical or legal basis to back up its claims.

READ: US, Japan, PH to China: Stop ‘coercive use’ of coast guard in SCS 

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In Marcos’ term, the Philippines has taken a stronger stance in defending the WPS.  In early April, Marcos participated in the first-ever trilateral summit between the Philippines, the US, and Japan, where the WPS issue was discussed — with the three leaders asking China to stop using its Coast Guard in a coercive manner.


For comprehensive coverage, in-depth analysis, and the latest updates on the West Philippine Sea issue, visit our special site here. Stay informed with articles, videos, and expert opinions.

TAGS: Marcos, West Philippine Sea, WPS

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