Armed Forces of the Philippines chief Gen. Cirilito Sobejana said Monday that Chinese ships are still in the West Philippine Sea, with Philippine aerial and naval assets not backing down from sovereignty patrols in the area.
Without providing the exact figure, the chief of the country’s armed forces said that the vessels include those from the Chinese navy, coast guard and militia while some are manned by fishermen. He noted that the numbers will be provided by the National Task Force for the West Philippine Sea.
“There are still Chinese vessels from Coast Guard, Navy, some are militias, some are fishermen. I would suggest that the figures will be taken from NTF-WPS dahil ‘yun ang usapan namin,” he added.
According to Sobejana, at least 10 Philippine Navy ships are currently deployed to conduct sovereignty patrols in the West Philippine Sea, while four planes from the Air Force are on standby under the Western Command.
He also noted that radio challenges from China have also continued over the past weeks, but the Philippines is not backing down.
“Sa surface patrols lang madalas may challenges. May template na itong Chinese navy, coast guard na ‘this is our territory, get out of here.’ But we are not intimidated by those challenges,” he said.
“We continue our route,” he said, emphasizing that they ensure the patrol plan is not disrupted by those challenges.