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Despite facing external threats, Marcos Jr. clarified that the Philippines are not declaring war!

President Marcos, while emphasizing that the Philippines is not initiating any declaration of war, pledged to strengthen the military’s capabilities for external defense amid ongoing tensions between Manila and Beijing regarding their enduring maritime disagreement. During his visit to the Army’s 10th Infantry Division in Mawab, Davao de Oro, Marcos underscored the necessity for the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) to enhance its capabilities as it shifts from internal security operations to an external defense stance.

“I am sure that all of you are aware that the internal threat has been reduced. We now have to also think about the external threat, and that again is a different strategy that we will have to employ,” Marcos was quoted by the Presidential Communications Office as saying.

“We will do everything so you will have the capability. You have the capability to do the job, that is this new job that you have to face. You have the capability. You have the training. You have the equipment and that we will be able to present at least a deterrent force,” he added. 

Marcos commented on the ongoing tensions in the West Philippine Sea, highlighting Beijing’s aggressive actions, particularly its attempts to obstruct Manila’s resupply missions to the Ayungin Shoal. The West Philippine Sea encompasses the area of the South China Sea falling within the Philippines’ exclusive economic zone and continental shelf. Despite a 2016 international arbitral court ruling nullifying China’s expansive maritime claims in the South China Sea, the Chinese government has refused to acknowledge the significant decision.

Chinese vessels have employed water cannon attacks and risky maneuvers to hinder Philippine ships from delivering supplies to Filipino soldiers stationed on the BRP Sierra Madre, a dilapidated vessel functioning as a navy outpost in Ayungin Shoal. Recently, the military shared a video depicting Chinese boats pursuing food supplies air-dropped for Filipino troops in the area.

Marcos affirmed that both the civilian government and AFP commanders are exerting maximum efforts to ensure that soldiers are fully equipped, emphasizing that their intention is not to instigate conflict.

“We are not waging a war with anyone. We do not want to invade. We are just defensive and we are just defending our country,” Marcos, also the commander-in-chief of the military, said.

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