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Philippines Urged to Bolster Defense Amidst Rising Geopolitical Tensions

In light of escalating geopolitical tensions in the Indo-Pacific region, President Ferdinand “Bongbong” R. Marcos Jr. emphasized the imperative for the Philippines to fortify its defenses against external threats. 

Addressing members of the Philippine Army’s 5th Infantry Division (ID) at Camp Melchor de la Cruz in Gamu, Isabela, Marcos underscored the significance of preparedness, given the country’s proximity to Taiwan and ongoing disputes with China in the West Philippine Sea (WPS).

Marcos highlighted that the Philippines’ geographical proximity to Taiwan automatically places it within China’s sphere of interest, necessitating heightened vigilance in the northern part of the country. Emphasizing the gravity of the external threat, Marcos urged military personnel to prioritize readiness for any eventuality, expanding their mission beyond internal security concerns.

While reiterating the Philippines’ commitment to upholding peace and territorial integrity, Marcos emphasized the government’s dedication to defending its sovereignty. He clarified that while the Philippines has no intention of infringing on others’ territories, it stands firm in protecting its own against encroachment.

Part of the government’s proactive measures includes designating an area in Cagayan as an Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA) site, reinforcing the country’s defense capabilities. The Philippines’ stance stems from its territorial dispute with China, particularly concerning the South China Sea, including the West Philippine Sea.

Despite an international tribunal ruling in July 2016 invalidating China’s expansive territorial claims, Beijing persists in its aggressive actions, including militarization efforts within Philippine territory in the West Philippine Sea.

As tensions continue to simmer in the region, Marcos’ call for enhanced defense readiness underscores the urgency for the Philippines to bolster its security apparatus and safeguard its sovereignty amidst evolving geopolitical dynamics.