President: No request for US spy planes-A A +A
Thursday, July 5, 2012
PRESIDENT Benigno Aquino III clarified Thursday that there is no request coming from the Philippines for the United States to send spy planes to the disputed area in the West Philippine Sea.
"There was a mistake in my interview the other day. He believes that we already made a request. If you will go through the transcript of the interview, what I said was: 'we might.' In the story, we already have a request or there were already overflights which wasn't what I stated," Aquino said in Filipino in an interview in Pasay City.
The President, meanwhile, admitted that the Philippines lacks adequate equipment and vessels to protect its territorial waters but he sees nothing wrong to seek help from the US.
"Let us correct it. America is a treaty ally. We have deficiency, they have the capacity. If ever we have shortage, I think we can approach them to boost what we call situational awareness in the West Philippine Sea," he said.
Aquino also denied that what he said was meant to provoke and stir up tensions with China reiterating call for the Chinese side to be careful with its statements.
"It is not clear to me what provocative statement did the Philippine side made. We are aware of various statements coming from the Chinese side. Maybe, there is a need for them to read what was published in their newspapers, with all due respect, they should balance what they were saying to what is true," he said.
Malacañang has defended the President on the issue, saying his remarks were "taken out of context" and misinterpreted by the China. The Philippines maintained its commitment to have a peaceful resolution of the territorial row at the West Philippine Sea.
Aquino will be presiding a full Cabinet meeting Thursday afternoon to discuss the implication of the ongoing dispute between the Philippines and China to the country.
Asked if the redeployment of ships will be discussed, Aquino said: "There are many schools of thought on how to handle, how to deal with the Chinese. So we will be getting, in effect, a discussion on opposite points of view on what is the best approach to settle this issue."
He said there should have been no issue should China already clear the Panatag (Scarborough) shoal of their fishing vessels.
"It has been three weeks since the Coast Guard vessels were pulled out from the shoal. If their vessels were also pulled out especially the government vessels, there should have been no issue. So who is delaying the issue in Panatag Shoal or in Bajo de Masinloc?" he asked.
Aquino said the redeployment of ships will be dependent on the weather. (Jill Beltran/Sunnex)