Manila: – Filipino President Rodrigo Duterte issued an ultimatum to his countrymen, ‘There is no other option but to go at war with China, to regain control over the West Philippines Sea. The Philippines will not get back its marine sector in any other way but for bloodshed. This price will have to be paid for it. This will be a bloody war, and win or lose, are both possible outcomes.’ Following this, the Duterte government has initiated steps to increase the deployment of the destroyers, patrol vessels and aircraft in the West Philippines Sea, where Chinese militia ships have intruded.
More than 200 Chinese militia ships have intruded in the Philippines marine region. There is a Chinese militia having military training on these ships. The intrusion has lasted for nearly two months. Filipino Defence Minister and the Military Chief have already showered severe criticism on China and have even warned China of consequences. Talks were on that despite this, President Duterte is not willing to take a stand against China. But on Monday, President Duterte, during the meeting of the cabinet and while addressing the Filipino population after that, clearly warned that a war might be sparked with China.
President Duterte said, ‘In 2016, the international court in Hague endorsed the sovereign rights of the Philippines on the marine region. If this decision is to be implemented, there is no other alternative but war. Philippines Sea can be reclaimed only with force.’ Duterte warned, ‘There is no reason to fight if the Chinese ships carry on fishing in the Philippines marine region. But if China is trying to explore oil, nickel or any other mineral in this region, then the time has come for action.’
President Duterte warned, ‘If China starts exploration and excavation in the Philippines marine region, it will amount to a violation of the agreement between the two countries, and to retaliate against this, the Philippines also will send its ships in the Chinese marine region for exploration and excavation.’ Filipino Defence Minister Delfin Lorenza also lashed out at China over the issue. Lorenza accused, ‘The deployment of the Chinese ships in the Philippines marine region demonstrates the country’s real motives. China is trying to gain control over the West Philippines Sea with this deployment.’
Lorenza reminded the Chinese intrusion into the marine region at the Panatag Shoal and Panganiban Island is similar to the current intrusion. Along with these warnings, the Philippines has increased the deployment of its destroyers, patrol vessels and air surveillance in this marine region. China claims that some of its ships have withdrawn from the territory claimed by the Philippines. But the Philippines is accusing that the Chinese vessels are still present in the marine region.