Vice President Jejomar C. Binay said Thursday evening that the Philippines is no “pushover” and will defend its disputed territories to the last blood, but only after all peaceful means have been exhausted.
“Up to the last blood. I think that must be our position. That we are ready to die up to the last blood.”
“But as much as possible, we will always resort to peaceful means,” the Vice President said after meeting some of the Marines stationed at the Ayungin Shoal detachment.
1Lt Mike C. Pelotera, TSgt Julio Ventoza, Pfc Mario Gerlene Pajarillo, Cpl Rogelio Tabilisma, Tsgt Joselito D. Panganiban, and Sgt Edwin Galvan, members of the “Ayungin 9,” met with Binay to relate their experiences at the BRP Sierra Madre stationed at the disputed shoal. The other members who were unable to meet with Binay are Pfc Ryan Esteban, Sgt. Rey Sarmiento, and Cpl. Sheffrey T. Luna.
The “Ayungin 9” were replaced by fresh troops during the March 29 mission twice blocked by Chinese vessels.
According to Binay, the fact that the Philippine Navy was able to send replacements to defend the shoal sends the message that the Philippines will always assert its sovereignty.
The Vice President also expressed his pride at the actions of his fellow Marines, adding that all Filipinos should be “very proud” of their heroism. Binay is a reserve Marine colonel.
“Kita mo naman iyong sacrifice doon. Katulad nito five months ito na-delay pa, dapat three months lang. Pero sabi nga, sundalo ay sundalo. Walang iyakan. I think when they were assigned there, that was in compliance with the order, so the order must have to be defended by all means,” he said.
Binay also expressed hope that relations between the Philippines and China will continue even while the issue of sovereignty over the territories is being resolved. He acknowledged that the resolution of the issue will take time.#