Presidential candidate Manila Mayor Isko Moreno promised the modernization of the Philippine Navy and Coast Guard (PCG) to assert the country’s rights over the West Philippine Sea (WPS).
“It’s high time for us to redirect most of our resources in the Armed Forces to reinforce our capacity in that part of our country,” Moreno said in a radio interview, assuring Filipino fishermen could fish in the WPS freely, peacefully, and productively.
“That’s why, about two months ago, sabi ko, we will reinforce our capability with regard to our Navy and Coast Guard,” he added.
Moreno noted that the Navy’s and Coast Guard’s presence should increase from Batanes to Tawi-Tawi since the Philippines is an archipelago.
Meanwhile, Isko Moreno also said his administration would focus on legal means to claim sovereignty over Sabah. The disputed island is located on Borneo, south of Mindanao.
“What matters most is, tulad ng West Philippine Sea, nanalo tayo (like in the West Philippine Sea, we won),” Isko Moreno said.
“We will be fearless in addressing that, and we will be fair in dealing with them, and we’ll be faithful to every Filipino. That’s how we are going to approach it,” he added.
Isko Moreno bares plan to defend West Philippine Sea
The North Borneo dispute, also known as the Sabah dispute, is the territorial dispute between Malaysia and the Philippines over much of the eastern part of the state of Sabah. Sabah was previously known as North Borneo before forming the Malaysian federation.
The Philippines, presenting itself as the successor state of the Sultanate of Sulu, retains a “dormant claim” on Eastern Sabah on the basis that the territory was only leased to the British North Borneo Company in 1878, with the sovereignty of the Sultanate (and subsequently the Republic) over the territory never having been relinquished.
However, Malaysia considers this dispute a “non-issue,” as it interprets the 1878 agreement as that of cession. It deems that the residents of Sabah (including Eastern Sabah) had exercised their right to self-determination when they joined to form the Malaysian federation in 1963.
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