Bato dela Rosa: I can still fight in West PH Sea
MANILA, Philippines — Even at his age, Senator Ronald “Bato” dela Rosa believes he could still “fight with the people” in the West Philippine Sea.
Dela Rosa made the remark when the retirement of Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) Commandant Admiral Artemio Abu was mentioned at a budget hearing at the Senate on Tuesday.
In response to Senator Grace Poe’s query during the hearing, Abu confirmed he is set to retire on October 19.
“Barely three weeks from now, I’ll be retiring from service,” Abu said.
Dela Rosa then inquired if the PCG chief would no longer be covered even if he rushed the passage of a bill that would modernize the Coast Guard and adjust the mandatory retirement age of 56 to 57.
“Gawin nating 57 kasi ang babata pa ninyo (Let’s set the retirement age at 57 years old because you’re still very young),” the senator said.
“Ako nga 61 years old, feeling ko I can still fight with the people in the West Philippine Sea. Kayang-kaya ko pang lumaban dun pero 61 na ako,” he pointed out.
(I‘m already 61 years old, but I still feel like I can fight with the people in the West Philippine Sea. I believe I can still fight there, even though I’m already 61.)
Dela Rosa once headed the Philippine National Police during the time of former President Rodrigo Duterte.
The senator later asked the PCG about the recent tension in the West Philippine Sea after the China Coast Guard (CCG) installed a 300-meter-long floating barrier southeast of Bajo de Masinloc, also known as Panatag Shoal or Scarborough Shoal on September 22.
Abu confirmed that after the order of President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr. to support and defend Filipino fishermen, the Coast Guard removed the barriers.
The PCG chief said they have a video and photos of the incident which they could use as evidence against China.