MANILA, Philippines - A multilateral solution can end the territorial dispute in the Kalayaan Islands area, Presidential political adviser Ronald Llamas said Friday.
He issued the statement following the standoff at the Panatag or Scarborough Shoal in the West Philippines Sea between the Philippine Navy and Coast Guard and 8 Chinese vessels.
"While we should be unwavering in our assertion of territorial sovereignty in the area, this should be backed by robust efforts to build a multilateral base for support and cooperation with our partners and allies," Llamas said in a press statement.
"I laud the courage and vigilance of our navy and the armed forces in enforcing our laws and protecting the integrity of our territory. Nonetheless, we strive to take the necessary political and diplomatic steps to ensure that in carrying out their duty they are not unnecessarily put in harm's way," he added.
He said the Aquino administration has taken "a proactive approach" on the issue.
Llamas cited the consensus among members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) to support the Philippines' move for a multilateral solution to the Spratlys issue.
A multilateral approach will be the most effective way of ensuring continued stability in the region, said Llamas.