Palace defends PRRD order to ban stockpiling of arms in Palawan

MANILA MalacaAang on Wednesday defended the decision of President Rodrigo Duterte to ban any country from storing up arms and ammunition in Palawan.

This, as Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo contested international political risk analyst Anders Corr's warning that Duterte's decision will leave Palawan militarily vulnerable to the advantage of China.

The President's recent decision not to allow any country to stockpile arms and ammunition in Palawan reflects his acumen and diplomacy in dealing with the issue, Panelo said in a statement.

The President not only steers clear of a potential warfare with China but anticipates any armed conflict between two powerful countries, he added.

Last Saturday, Duterte said he will not allow any country to stockpile arms and ammunition in Palawan since the Philippines is not ready for any armed conflict.

Palawan is one of the country's closest islands to the South China See or West Philippine Sea partly being claimed by the Philippines, China, Malaysia, Indonesia, Brunei and Vietnam.

Palawan, given its proximity to our giant neighbor, could be a flaming collateral damage if not an object of a strategic assault resulting to irreparable repercussions in the island, Panelo said.

He said it is in the best interest of the Philippines that Duterte maintains 'constructive dialogues' with China through the Bilateral Consultative Mechanism (BCM), which started holding a series of meetings in July last year.

Panelo also disputed Corr's claim that Duterte's possible invitation of Chinese electricity producers in Palawan would basically bolster China's claim over the WPS.

Its entry is merely a business matter owing to their technical knowhow on power outages, Panelo, concurrent Chief Presidential Legal Counsel, explained.

He said all projects, whether proposed by domestic or foreign entities, shall undergo strict legal processes before any approval is given by the government. (PNA)

Source: Philippine News Agency