Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana
SINGAPORE – Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana believes there is no reason to be fixated over reports that China allegedly installed a weather station in South China Sea.
Lorenzana noted that like China, the Philippines also has shipping vessels and air units patrolling in the area.
Filipino fishermen are also present and benefiting from the marine resources in South China Sea as Chinese fishermen do.
The Secretary explained that such weather facility is obviously needed for navigational safety purposes.
Therefore, he said, the Philippines would benefit from the facility should the reports be verified as true.
“Why are we so much fixated on the use of this weather station? It is for safety purposes. Hopefully, makikinabang din tayo diyan kung ise-share nila sa atin ang mga nakukuha nilang weather (information),” Lorenzana told UNTV News in an exclusive interview ahead of the formal opening of the 33rd ASEAN Summit in Singapore on Tuesday (November 13).
“I think it is advantageous to us in a way that they can also monitor our ships there, at nagtutulungan naman tayo. Tinutulungan nila ang mga fisherman natin na stranded, at kung tayo naman makakita ng fisherman nila, we are there to help,” he added.
However, Lorenzana clarified that the only information they have on the alleged facility was the statement of Chinese Foreign Ministry Wang Yi who said they already launched a weather observation station in the disputed territory.
The Secretary said the government is contemplating on establishing a weather facility in Palawan for the purpose of monitoring Philippine vessels in the area.
Meanwhile, Lorenzana cannot be certain as to what particular point of focus will the ASEAN leaders be discussing regarding South China Sea.
The Palace official hopes, however, that the group will be able to come up with a reasonable solution on the conflicts in the area ultimately for the benefit of the citizens in the region.
“We will come into the table with some concerns and (hopefully) we’lll get out of the table with all understanding each other’s position at saka understanding kung magkakaintindihan tayo kung anong gagawin nating mabuti sa isa’t isa,” the Secretary concluded. – Marje Pelayo