PRESIDENT Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. said the Philippine government will send a note verbale to China in relation to the recent incident in waters off Pagasa Island where Chinese authorities reportedly took forcibly a rocket debris recovered by Filipino troops.

Marcos said this was the advice of National Security Adviser Secretary Clarita Carlos, noting that the conflicting claims of Chinese and Philippine authorities must be clarified.

He said he believes the account of the Philippine troops but wants to know why China’s version was different.

“Yes, I think that that’s what we need to do because... when it was first reported to me by the chief of staff, I asked him to immediately call his... the Philippine, the military attaché in the Chinese embassy and to get a report,” he said in an interview with reporters on Tuesday, November 22.

“And hindi nagtugma ‘yung report ng Philippine Navy at saka ‘yung report na galing sa China because the word ‘forcibly’ was used in the Navy -- in the Philippine Navy report. And that was not the characterization in the Chinese Navy report or the report coming from China. So we have to resolve this issue,” he added.

Marcos said these are the things he wants to work out and resolve during his upcoming visit in Beijing in January to prevent any possible untoward incident from happening.

“Because with the way that the region, our region, Asia-Pacific, is heating up, baka may magkamali lang, may mistake, may misunderstanding then lalaki ‘yung sunog,” he said.

On Monday, November 21, the Armed Forces of the Philippines said a team from the Naval Station Emilio Liwanag (NSEL) in Palawan recovered rocket debris floating around 800 yards west off Pagasa Island on Sunday morning, November 20.

While towing it toward the NSEL, a Chinese Coast Guard approached the team, deployed a rubber boat and “forcefully took” the debris by cutting off the towing line.

In response, the Chinese embassy in Manila denied the claims, saying the debris was returned to them after a “friendly consultation.”

But Defense Chief Jose Faustino Jr. stood by the report of the Filipino troops, saying the Chinese authorities took the debris in a rude manner. (SunStar Philippines)