MANILA, Philippines – Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano has maintained there is no ‘invasion’ by Chinese troops in the West Philippine Sea even as he begged off to divulge more facts on the issue to supposedly avoid hampering the ongoing negotiations between the two countries.
Cayetano was reacting to Supreme Court Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio’s statement that says “Sandy Cay is a Philippine land territory that is being seized (to put it mildly) or being invaded (to put it frankly) by China.
Sandy Cay is a sandbar about 2.5 nautical miles from Pag-asa Island and well within the country’s territorial waters.
“So let me assure you wala nang problema doon sa [there is no more problem in that] area na yun kung nagka-problema man [and if there was any], it was resolved diplomatically. It’s not true that there was an attempt na-iinvade or agawin [to invade or snatch],” said Cayetano.
“Let me put it this way, the mere presence per se although we were informed, and of course we needed to talk about it, the mere presence of Chinese ships under the UNCLOS doesn’t mean anything,” the official added.
“Wrong facts, wrong premise”
Cayetano also refuted Carpio’s pronouncement about China’s invasion of Sandy Cay; saying it was based on ‘wrong facts’ and ‘wrong premises’.
“The problem with some of the press statements that came out had wrong facts and wrong premises, wrong conclusion. One of them was saying may invasion of the sandbars sa Pag-asa…that’s not true,” the DFA chief said.
He also apologized for not readily sharing the facts with the media, but gave assurance to the public that despite lack of details, the government will tell if the situation has becoming alarming or put the public interest in danger.
“Or if we are going to take or step up certain actions that needs the public’s support, or at the very least, knowledge,” he added.