- China has been challenging PH planes flying over features in the West PH Sea
- Defense chief Lorenzana said it’s just a “play of words” every time there is maritime patrol
- Naval patrols are now being sent to the area every now and then
MANILA, Philippines – The Chinese troops are always warning the Philippine aircraft every time they would fly over island-features in the West Philippine Sea; this was revealed by Department of National Defense (DND) chief Delfin Lorenzana.
Lorenzana, however, did not specifically refer to the Spratly Group of islands in the WPS, most of which were already occupied and controlled by Beijing.
“These planes, every time that they fly over these features of Chinese, they will challenge,” said Lorenzana in an interview over CNN Philippines’ “The Source”.
“They will say that you are entering Chinese airspace. Just exchange of words. Then we will say: ‘No, we are passing over Philippine airspace.’ It’s just a play of words every time we have patrols,” the official added.
In early February, an Inquirer report said that at least seven reefs in the contested territory occupied by China are nearing completion and have been transformed into island fortresses.
The Duterte administration assured there is a continuing protest against these ‘militarization’ of the WPS, and the issue have been discussed in bilateral meetings between the two countries.
Just recently, the Philippine Air Force (PAF) has acquired six (6) unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) from the United States through a military financing grant estimated to be worth $13.76 million (P712-M).
Lorenzana said now that they have military utilizes drones, naval patrols are being sent every now and then to these areas for reconnaissance.