Malacañang is exploring all diplomatic options in connection with the alleged missile deployment over areas in the West Philippine Sea, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said Monday.
“We have to deal now with existing realities and ang sinasabi nga ni Presidente is, we’re trying to do the best that we can under existing circumstances. We are exploring all diplomatic options,” Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque said adding that the previous administration and the United States did not act when China started its reclamation activities years back.
The Palace official said the fact that the current government is not publicizing what it is doing does not mean it is not doing anything.
“Again, the fact that we’re not publicizing what we’re doing, let me remind you that it is an accepted exception to freedom of information, diplomatic conversations and initiatives,” Roque underscored saying that military action even in the country’s Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) is viewed with much concern.
Nevertheless, the Palace spokesperson stressed that they are confident China, assuming they have missiles, will not use these on the Philippines by citing the country’s good relations with the giant neighbor in the North.
Secretary Roque further said the Philippines is awaiting a key piece of technology that would allow the government to verify first-hand the presence of the missile installations.
“We still do not have verification. I had a talk with the National Security Adviser and he told me that there is a technology that we need that we still don’t have to be able to verify it for ourselves,” Roque noted.
He added that the Philippines could get information from third-party sources; however, this would not be first-party verification.
‘ADB Forecast on PH Growth’
In the same press briefing, Secretary Roque said the Asian Development bank has forecast the growth of the Philippines’s gross domestic product (GDP) at 6.8 percent in 2018 and 6.9 percent in 2019.
“The multilateral bank sees rising investments and labor productivity as major drivers in the economy’s robust domestic growth,” he said.
Roque also said there was a “strong and robust” manufacturing output for the first quarter of 2018 driven by major sectors including printing, textile, food manufacturing, petroleum products, electric machinery and non-metallic products.
The value of production index for manufacturing displayed an increment of 12.8 percent in March 2018 compared to 11.8 percent in the same period of last year, according to the Monthly Integrated Survey of Selected Industries (MISSI) of the Philippine Statistics Authority, ### PCO-Content