August 21, 2019
Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said the increasing number of Chinese warships passing the territorial waters of Southern Philippines is "very alarming."
"It's because the frequency has increased, so its very alarming why so many navy ships of the Chinese are passing through Sibutu Strait", Lorenzana said in an interview with reporters in Manila late Tuesday afternoon.
"My question is where are they coming from, we do not know where are they going, maybe if they are passing through Sibutu Strait towards the north then obviously... they are going back to China, but the question is where they come from, why there are a lot of them," he added.
Lorenzana said based on their monitoring there are instances two to four Chinese warships were passing through.
"There was one instance there were four ships have passed, at one time, the other two. So it's just alarming because before they do not do that. Seldom we saw them there," he said.
When asked about the reported presence of Chinese Coast Guard in Ayungin Shoal, the defense chief said he hasn't received a report.
"We haven't received the official report, so we're trying to get from Wescom (Western Command), requiring them to make the official report to us. I cannot comment on that yet," he said.
"We will wait for the report to validate it, then we will think of what our response will be," he added. Robina Asido/DMS
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