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Marcos: Note verbale to be sent to China following Pag-asa incident

President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. said Tuesday that a note verbale would be sent to China following the confrontation between Filipino and Chinese forces near Pag-asa Island.

“Yes, I think that’s what we need to do,” Marcos said when asked if a note verbale would be sent to China over the incident.

Marcos said the issue must be resolved, adding that he has complete trust with the country’s naval forces.

"When it was first reported to me by the chief of staff, I asked him to immediately call his – the Philippine – the military attaché in the Chinese Embassy and to get a report," Marcos said.

"And hindi nagtugma ‘yung report ng Philippine Navy at saka ‘yung report na galing sa 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," he added.

"So we have to resolve this issue. 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.

Marcos said it should be known why the account of Chinese forces was different from the narrative of the Philippines. He said this kind of incident is among the reasons why he is glad that he will go to China in January 2023 for a state visit.

"So we have now asked the Chinese, why is it that their account is so different and it’s much more benign – shall we use that word – than the.. Because the forcibly na nga was used in the – at least in the initial reports of the Philippine Navy," he said.

"So we’ll have to find a way to resolve this. This is one of the things, this kind of incidents are some of the things that I’m glad that I’m going to Beijing early January because this is --- these are the things that we need to work out because with the way that the region, our region, Asia-Pacific is heating up, baka may magkamali lang, may mistake, may misunderstanding then lalaki ‘yung sunog," he added.

Marcos also said there must be a mechanism that will be enforced to prevent this kind of incident from happening again.

On Sunday, the Philippines’ Naval Station Emilio Liwanag (NSEL) and the Chinese Coast Guard had a confrontation off Pag-asa Island after the latter “forcefully” took an unidentified floating object from the Philippine forces.

The Chinese Embassy, however, denied that the personnel of Chinese Coast Guard forcefully retrieved the object, saying that it was done through friendly consultation.

Following this incident, National Security Adviser Clarita Carlos said she already recommended to Marcos the sending of a note verbale to Beijing.

Interviewed on Dobol B TV earlier in the day, Carlos said she gave Marcos several recommendations on possible actions regarding the incident, but she could only disclose the one about the note verbale.

“Siguro 'yung puwedeng i-disclose sa public 'yung dati nating ginagawa, mag-note verbale tayo sa China [Perhaps, what I can disclose to the public is the one that we have done before, sending a note verbale to China],” she said. — RSJ, GMA Integrated News