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PH not dependent on US in securing WPS, says task force spox Malaya

The Philippines is not depending on the United States in securing the West Philippine Sea, National Task Force West Philippine Sea (NTF WPS) spokesperson Jonathan Malaya said Thursday.

Interviewed on Dobol B TV, Malaya pointed out that the Philippine Navy and the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) were the ones conducting operations, particularly resupply missions to Ayungin Shoal, in the West Philippine Sea and not the US.

“Hindi ko maintindihan ‘yung konsepto ng umaasa sa kaalyado kasi hindi naman ‘yung Estados Unidos ang nagdadala ng supplies sa Ayungin Shoal, sa BRP Sierra Madre,” he said.

(I don’t understand the concept that we are just relying on the US because the US was not the one bringing the supplies to BRP Sierra Madre in Ayungin Shoal.)

“Walang dependence relationship dito. Ito ay Philippine mission. Philippine troops ang pupunta doon, nagro-rotate, ‘yung mga vessel lahat Philippine Navy o PCG. Ang ginagawa lang ng US is monitor what’s happening there,” he added.

(There was no dependence relationship here. This is a Philippine mission. Philippine troops as well as Philippine Navy or PCG vessels involved. What the US is doing is only monitor what’s happening there.)

Malaya, also a ranking official of the National Security Council (NSC), was responding to the statement of some senators that the Philippines was supposedly just relying on the US after an American aircraft was seen during the Philippines’ latest resupply mission to Ayungin Shoal.

China vessels have been blocking the Philippines’ resupply mission to shoal through dangerous maneuvers and the use of water cannons.

Malaya said the US aircraft was conducting reconnaissance and surveillance in the area because it its existing Mutual Defense Treaty with the Philippines.


In a separate statement, PCG spokesperson for WPS Commodore Jay Tarriela lamented the doubts on PCG's capabilities to perform its duty without “external actors.”

“It is disheartening to hear doubts cast on our capabilities to carry out this duty without the support of other external actors,” Tarriela said.

“However, it is important to remember that our President has already made it clear that we will work with all countries to establish a rules-based international order,” he added.

For Tarriela, the issues in the South China Sea should not only be considered as a competition between powerful countries “as this denies us our independence and disregards our legitimate interests.”

During a hearing of the Senate national defense committee on Tuesday, Senator Robin Padilla questioned the presence of an American plane during the latest resupply mission.

Defense Undersecretary Ignacio Madriaga and Professor Jay Batongbacal said there is nothing wrong with the presence of a US military plane during resupply missions to Ayungin Shoal.

Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) chief General Romeo Brawner Jr. said there is “nothing new” with the support of the US during the resupply missions because it was also done in Marawi Siege in 2017.

“Let me tell you that this is nothing new. During the Marawi Siege we also received the same kind of technical support from our ally the US and even our partner the Australian Defense Force,” he said in a press conference.

“I could say that we have been successful because of the technical assistance that we received through the airplanes that were flying above and giving us the technical and intelligence information,” he added. —KBK/NB, GMA Integrated News