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Top Filipino General Visits Pag-Asa Island in West Philippine Sea

'It is our own, why should we be afraid'
20 hours ago
Photo/s: Armed Forces of the Philippines/Handout

The chief of the Armed Forces of the Philippines said Wednesday he visited Pag-Asa Island in the Spratlys earlier this week and rallied troops to defend the country's territory.

Gen. Cirilito Sobejana touched down on the Filipino stronghold in the West Philippine Sea as China refuses to pull out its ships from the Philippines' exclusive economic zone, ignoring months of diplomatic moves from Manila.

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"It is our own, why should we be afraid? It is our territory so we can do, we can pursue whatever plan we have for as long as it is for the best interest of our country," Sobejana told reporters late Tuesday.

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"So my visit further motivates their will to do their job and perform their mandates," he said.


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The most recent diplomatic protest involved Chinese ships off Pag-Asa island, the largest feature in the Spratlys that is inhabited by Filipinos. It is also legally part of Kalayaan municipality in Palawan.

Sobejana said his trip was meant to check on the feasibility of converting the island into a logistics hub to sustain military forces stationed in smaller outcrops.

Sobejana said his aircraft was not "challenged" by the Chinese. China usually notifies or warns ships and aircraft by radio for entering what it claim to be part of Chinese territory.

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"There was no disruption whatsoever and I was able to convey my message to our forces deployed in that part of our archipelago...Our visit was very smooth," he said.

"I was able to go around the island and we checked what we can do further to really make it a logistics hub in coordination with the local government," he said.

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