The Philippines will send a note verbale to China following the confrontation between the Philippine Navy and Chinese coast guard over rocket debris in the West Philippine Sea (WPS), President Ferdinand “Bongbong” R. Marcos Jr. said on Tuesday.
In an ambush interview during the 49th Founding Anniversary of the Career Executive Service Board (CESB) in Pasay City, Marcos disclosed he would follow the recommendation of National Security Adviser Clarita R. Carlos in handling the incident.
Through the note verbale, he said he wants to find out what really happened in the recovery of the debris amid conflicting reports from the Philippines and China.
“The report from the Philippine Navy did not match the report from China because the word ‘forcibly’ was used in the Navy—in the Philippine Navy report. And that was not the characterization in the Chinese navy report or the report coming from China,” Marcos said.
The debris was recovered by the Philippine Navy near Pag-asa Island last Monday. It then decided to tow the debris to the island.
But before they could reach their destination, the Philippine Navy alleged the Chinese coast guard took the debris after cutting off the rope they were using to tow it.
“Of course, I am—I have complete trust in our Navy and if this is what they say happened, I can only believe that that is what happened,” Marcos said.
“So we have to now ask the Chinese, why is it that their account is so different,” the President pointed out.
Marcos said he hopes to prevent similar incidents from happening again through a “mechanism” for sea vessels navigating the WPS, which he will propose during his visit to China next year.
“I’m glad that I am going to Beijing early January because this is—these are the things that we need to work out,” the President stressed.
“Because with the way that the region, our region, Asia-Pacific, is heating up, a mistake or misunderstanding could lead to tensions to flare up,” he warned.