MANILA - The Department of National Defense (DND) on Thursday expressed deep concern over China's reclamation project on Mischief Reef, one of the disputed areas in the West Philippine Sea.
"It's a major or critical concern. They have to dismantle it. It's a concern not only for our country and region but for the whole international community," said DND spokesman Peter Paul Galvez.
Galvez said the reclamation work at Mischief Reef has implications on the Philippines' national security.
Mischief Reef is located inside the Philippines' 200-nautical-mile exclusive economic zone (EEZ).
"The implication of such is beyond measure. Its implication is far-reaching, it will greatly affect not only the current generation, but for the generations to come," said Galvez.
He added that it will also affect the country's economy.
"What they are doing is like building a wall. They want to enclose all the resources in that area," said Galvez, adding this will result in unabated Chinese fishing and putting a check on all vessels passing through the area.
Asked if China is putting up buildings at the Mischief Reef, Galvez said: "We have yet to monitor buildings but it (construction of buildings) will depend on how big the area that they will reclaim."
For his part, DND public affairs service chief Arsenio Andolong said: "We are alarmed by the increased activities being undertaken in the disputed islands."
Andolong said such activities "will certainly have implications on the security and stability, not only of the area but of the region."
Newly published satellite images show that China is quickly reclaiming land around a submerged reef within an area the Philippines regards as its exclusive economic zone, with several dredgers in operation and seawalls built.
The work on Mischief Reef is China's most recent reclamation in the disputed Spratly archipelago of the South China Sea.
Reclamation is well advanced on six other reefs in the Spratlys, Reuters reported in February, activities that have alarmed other claimants and drawn criticism from Washington. -- with a report from Reuters