(Eagle News)–President Rodrigo Duterte on Saturday, April 27, said the Philippines was seeking to “improve our collective capacity to manage and protect marine resource.”
Duterte made the remark before world leaders at the second Belt and Road forum in Beijing, China after National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon said the Philippines would declare Pagasa Island as a marine protected environment.
China has sent vessels near the island, a move the Philippines has denounced via a diplomatic protest.
Duterte also told China in an earlier speech to “lay off” the island.
According to Duterte, it is “our collective duty to promote (the seas’) sustainable and peaceful use in accordance with international law.”
He said “an open dialogue underpinned by trust and respect is key to this understanding.”
“Doing so creates a strong sense of national ownership and accountability, thus ensuring success,” Duterte said.
Duterte added the forum “presents an opportunity for the nations to explore avenues of mutually beneficial partnerships for inclusive sustainable development.”