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Philippines vows to defend territory, sovereignty

By Associated Press

LAST UPDATED: 08:34 a.m. HST, Jun 12, 2013

MANILA » Philippine President Benigno Aquino III vowed Wednesday (Tuesday in Hawaii) his country will not back down from any challenge to its sovereignty and territory amid a sea dispute with China.

He said in a speech marking the 115th anniversary of the country's independence from Spain that the Philippines has not claimed territory that clearly belongs to another country but only asks that "our territory, rights and dignity be respected."

"Aggression does not run in our veins, but neither will we back down from any challenge," Aquino told government workers, diplomats and supporters at a public square named after revolutionary leader Andres Bonifacio, where he also led a flag-raising ceremony.

Aquino said in the next five years, $1.74 billion will be spent to modernize the armed forces.

He did not mention China by name, but the two countries have an ongoing territorial row in the disputed Spratly islands.

Last month, the Philippines protested the presence of a Chinese warship, two surveillance vessels and fishing boats off a shoal occupied by Filipino troops in the Spratlys in the latest territorial squabble between the two Asian countries.

Ayungin Shoal lies 122 miles from the southwestern Philippine province of Palawan. It is guarded by a Filipino marine unit based in a rusty warship that ran aground on a coral outcrop several years ago. The shoal is near Mischief Reef, which the Philippines had claimed but was occupied by China in 1995, sparking intense protests from Manila.

Chinese maritime surveillance ships have also taken control of Scarborough Shoal, which Beijing calls Huangyan Island, and have roped off the entrance to its vast fishing lagoon following a two-month standoff with Philippine government ships last year. The chain of reefs and rocks 143 miles west of the northwestern Philippine province of Zambales falls under its 200-nautical miles exclusive economic zone, Filipino officials say.

Brunei, Malaysia, Taiwan and Vietnam also claim parts of the Spratlys, a chain of islands, islets and reefs.

On Tuesday, some 30 Filipino protesters wearing colorful fish masks gathered outside China's consular office in Manila to demand a stop to Chinese intrusions into Philippine claimed islands in the Spratlys.

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Carang_da_buggahz wrote:
Yeah, well, good luck with that. The P.I. standing up to China is like comparing a pea-shooter to a howitzer. Totally out-classed.
on June 12,2013 | 05:58AM
ricekidd wrote:
thats what you think. remember Ferdinand Magellan? before you speak do your homework on the Philippinos. They are not that easy to rule... Yes they are out classed in weapons but remember battles are fought with heart and will. not just weapons....
on June 12,2013 | 07:14AM
maximus wrote:
The only chance P.I. has against any country is the backing of USA.
on June 12,2013 | 07:25AM
hanalei395 wrote:
From 1898 to after WW II, the P.I. "belonged" to the U.S. They got their independence from the U.S. in July, 1946.
on June 12,2013 | 03:06PM
kauai wrote:
"battles are fought with heart and will". True statement. That's what happened to us in Vietnam, unfortunately. Do we still have some kind of mutual defense treaty/agreement with the Phillipines? If so, then we may be obligated in case of a fight.
on June 12,2013 | 11:27AM
Sunny wrote:
Have you seen a Filipino run amok?
on June 12,2013 | 01:41PM
HD36 wrote:
The US got their back. The Art of War principle: attack your opponent's weakness would apply should the US and China get into a war. Our stregth is miitary might and technology; our weekness is the our national debt.
on June 12,2013 | 07:26AM
HD36 wrote:
The US had the weakest auction for 10yr treasuries in over a year today! What nobody like loan da gabament mo money?
on June 12,2013 | 10:16AM
Anonymous wrote:
Another "war" for our country to stick our nose in ?? More of our people to sacrifice ??
on June 12,2013 | 07:39AM
loquaciousone wrote:
Who else is going to give Imelda Marcos another term in office?
on June 12,2013 | 09:04AM
Maneki_Neko wrote:
It is guarded by a Filipino marine unit based in a rusty warship that ran aground on a coral outcrop several years ago.

That should put fear in the heart of China's military. This like a bad episode of Gilligans Island.

on June 12,2013 | 08:09AM
loquaciousone wrote:
There is an old saying, "don't bring a bolo knife to a missile fight.
on June 12,2013 | 08:38AM
hanalei395 wrote:
You made that up. During the U.S./Philippines War, the U.S. had the 1911 Colt 45 to fight against the bolos. Designed especially to fight the Filipinos.
on June 12,2013 | 03:19PM
samidunn wrote:
Wonder if they regret kicking us out of Subic Bay?
on June 12,2013 | 09:23AM
kauai wrote:
And the airbase.
on June 12,2013 | 11:22AM
loquaciousone wrote:
How does it go again? It is not the dog in the fight that counts but the fight in the dog....or something la dat.
on June 12,2013 | 09:57AM
juscasting wrote:
The PI gov is like a Chihuahua, " All bark, no bite!" Good luck standing up against China, who is like a Rotti!
on June 12,2013 | 11:47AM
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