‘We’re not capable of defending West PH Sea’ – Defense chief

THE Philippines does not have enough capability to defend its territories in the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea), Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana admitted on Monday.

“At present, we don’t have any capabilities to just even demonstrate to others that we are capable because…we don’t have capital ships, we don’t have the weapons,” the Defense chief said in an interview with ABS-CBN News Channel in Singapore.

Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana

Lorenzana made the statement a week after he assured that the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) was prioritizing its territorial defense in areas that other countries such as China may be encroaching on.

The only airstrip Manila has was in the disputed Spratly Islands (Kalayaan Island Group) in Pag-asa (Thitu) Island, which is being repaired because a portion has collapsed, Lorenzana said.

“Our sole airstrip in Pag-asa is still very short and it is unpaved, so we are trying also to pave that so we can bring in our aircraft anytime,” he said.

Lorenzana also said that there were only five days of fair weather in Pag-asa Island and the “soggy” situation there at present has made it tough for Philippine Air Force planes to land. DEMPSEY REYES

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