Lorenzana wants PH to protest China ‘rescue center’ in Spratlys

Rambo Talabong
Lorenzana wants PH to protest China ‘rescue center’ in Spratlys


'We don't want them keeping on building things there.... It will become theirs,' says Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippines should protest China’s so-called rescue center built on Kagitingan Reef (Fiery Cross Reef) in the West Philippine Sea, said Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana on Monday, February 4.

“I think I agree with the secretary of foreign affairs (Teodoro Locsin Jr) that we should protest, only because we don’t want them keeping on building things there so that it will make it permanent. It will become theirs,” Lorenzana said in a chance interview with reporters at Camp Aguinaldo.

The defense chief was referring to China opening a “maritime rescue center” to supposedly “offer better support to maritime rescue operations in the southern part of the South China Sea.”

The rescue center, however, is well within the Philippines’ exclusive economic zone (EEZ). (TEXT: Summary of ruling on Philippines-China case)

“We just protest to let them know that any development that they continue to do there is protested by us because we believe that Mischief Reef, Fiery Cross, and all those islands that they have built within our EEZ is under our EEZ, and they belong to us,” Lorenzana said.

He joins the call for a protest by Supreme Court Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio, who earlier said that refusing to do so would imply consent to China building more structures within the Philippines’ EEZ.

Malacañang, however, has said that the Philippines “should be thankful” to China since the center it built “could help seamen in distress.” – Rappler.com

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Rambo Talabong

Rambo Talabong covers the House of Representatives and local governments for Rappler. Prior to this, he covered security and crime. He was named Jaime V. Ongpin Fellow in 2019 for his reporting on President Rodrigo Duterte’s war on drugs. In 2021, he was selected as a journalism fellow by the Fellowships at Auschwitz for the Study of Professional Ethics.