MANILA — Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano on Wednesday said the mere presence of Chinese vessels near Pag-asa Island should not be a cause for alarm.
Cayetano made the statement following the revelation of Magdalo Partylist Rep. Gary Alejano citing information from a military source that Chinese vessels were spotted north of Pag-asa island.
Cayetano also did not confirm or deny if Alejano’s claim but he assured the public that the situation in the disputed Pag-asa Island is “very stable”.
“I can’t confirm or deny because nga this is part of the discussion with command center but I’ll tell you continuous ‘yan. We will tell you if this is a cause for diplomatic or a military alarm,” Cayetano said in a press conference at the House of Representatives.
“So, while I can’t tell you the details, I can tell you the communication is there. There are reasons for certain presence of certain vessels, but it’s the situation in the area is very stable,” he added.
Cayetano said his department is taking upon itself to do all diplomatic actions necessary while noting that its new strategy now is focused on peace, stability, and dialogue.
“Our strategy now is to have peace, stability, and dialogue. and so far, it is working,” Cayetano said.
The military, for its part, said it is verifying reports of alleged Chinese activities near Pagasa Island.
Armed Forces of the Philippines public affairs office chief, Col. Edgard Arevalo Arevalo, said the AFP will not issue any other comment until they have verified the said information.