Next NICA chief: ‘We have to give focus on West Philippine Sea’
MANILA, Philippines — National Intelligence Coordinating Agency (NICA) director general-designate Ricardo de Leon on Thursday said he wants to “give focus” on the territorial dispute with China in the West Philippine Sea.
The country should bolster its presence in the area to assert its sovereignty over the Philippine waters, he said.
“We also have to give focus on the West Philippine Sea,” de Leon said over ABS-CBN News Channel. “Any development with our neighbors, especially in that area, will certainly affect domestic security. We have to view everything, integrate, and harmonize our efforts.”
He then stressed, “Iyong presence ng ating security force in the West Philippine Sea, kailangan ma-strengthen natin ‘yan, so that we can also guarantee the safety of our fishermen.”
(We need to strengthen our security forces in the West Philippine Sea so that we can guarantee the safety of our fishermen.)
With this in mind, the incoming NICA chief said he appreciates that the issue is among the priorities of President-elect Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr.
“We need all these equipment, facilities, and I’m happy that this is the focus. I am certain that our President-elect Marcos will sustain all of these efforts, and [will look] at our own national interest as a priority,” he noted.
He earlier said, however, that the country cannot afford to go to war with the Asian giant and should explore other means of handling the conflict instead.
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