MANILA, Philippines – Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario on Saturday urged Philippine Military Academy (PMA) cadets to defend Philippine territories and take a strong stand “to defend what is ours.”
In his first lecture to PMA cadets and faculty, del Rosario reminded the future leaders of the Armed Forces that “right is might.”
"Live up to your living commitment of courage, integrity and loyalty. By doing so, rather than being forced to accept that might is right, we will instead demonstrate that right is might," he told PMA cadets in Baguio City.
Del Rosario presented to the cadets what makes up the Philippines' national territory and shared to them the challenges that the government is facing in relation to the dispute in the West Philippine Sea.
"We have a clear mandate from our President. What is ours is ours and we should stand up to protect what is ours…this mandate is not a matter of choice on the part of our government but is dictated as an obligation by our Constitution to which the President has sworn to uphold," he said.
Del Rosario said three Chinese ships have been spotted at Bajo de Masinloc, which he said is also part of the national territory.
He noted that if the ships were pulled out from the area, “this could create the impetus for a way forward."
He also explained to the cadets that the country is addressing the territorial disputes using a rules-based approach.
Quoting the President, del Rosario said "all parties should respect the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) of all coastal states irrespective of their size or naval power in conformity and in accordance with UNCLOS."