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DND Chief Teodoro hits back at China: "We're not stirring trouble"
DND Chief Teodoro hits back at China: "We're not stirring trouble"
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DND Chief Teodoro hits back at China: "We're not stirring trouble"
by Ellicia Del Mundo28 September 2023
Photo courtesy: GIBO Teodoro PH

Department of National Defense (DND) Secretary Gilbert 'Gibo' Teodoro on Wednesday stood firm that it is not the country but China that is stirring trouble in the West Philippine Sea.

He made the statement in response to the Chinese Foreign Ministry's advice that the country should "not provoke and cause trouble."

"Provocation na ba iyon sa kanila? Ano ba ang provacation, yung paglalagay ng barrier or pagtatanggal illegal na harang?" Teodoro told reporters in an interview in Senate.

The DND Chief was referring to the 300-meter-long floating barriers installed by the China Coast Guard (CCG) and was removed by the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) at the southeast of Bajo de Masinloc last week.

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"Hindi naman tayo nag-stir ng trouble. Hindi naman tayo ang kumukopkop eh. Ayan yung hindi nila maintindihan eh," he added.

The Defense Chief also blasted China for saying that the country's military ship, BRP Sierra Madre is polluting the ecological environment in the Ayungin Shoal.

"Sino ba ang nangkupkop? Tayo ba o sila? Yung swarming lang ng vessels nila, alangan namang walang pollution 'yun," he said.

Teodoro also claimed that it was China that caused marine environmental damage in the West Philippine Sea.

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Last September 18, the PCG confirmed the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) report that marine ecosystem and coral reef in the areas frequently swarmed by Chinese vessels in WPS were extensively damaged.

"Hindi tinitingnan ang sarili bago magsalita," the DND chief underscored.

Meanwhile, during the Senate hearing on the agency's 2024 budget, Teodor maintained that the country is not provoking China.

"Hindi tayo nag po-provoke sa kanila. Nag re-react lang tayo sa ginagawa nila. Sila ang nangunguna, sila ang humaharang sa ating mga mangingisda sa Scarborough Shoal," he said.

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Teodoro warned that if the country did not take action, China may possibly take over the Benham Rise.

"Kung hindi natin pinatatag ang sandatahang lakas, baka sa Philippine rise mangyari, maunahan tayo," he said.

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