From GMA News Online (May 10, 2020): Navy maintains West Philippine Sea patrols amid COVID-19 response (By JOVILAND RITA)
The Philippine Navy on Sunday assured the public that its sailors and marines would continue to secure the country's exclusive economic zone (EEZ) despite the naval service's commitment to the coronavirus disease 2019(COVID-19) response.
Interviewed on Dobol B sa News TV, Philippine Navy Flag Officer in Command Vice Admiral Giovanni Carlo Bacordo noted that the security concerns in the disputed territories were not being overlooked.
“Ang ating malaking barko ay kasalukuyang they are patrolling the West Philippine Sea. Tuloy-tuloy ang ating security and territorial defense operations in spite of this COVID-19 crisis,” Bacordo said.
“We continue to conduct EEZ patrols and regular rotation, and replenishment of our personnel in our nine occupied features in the West Philippine Sea,” he added.
Several Navy vessels, as well as sailors and marines. were being utilized to support the government’s efforts in enforcing community quarantines and delivering relief in light of the pandemic.
According to Bacordo, some of the Navy personnel were manning quarantine control points across the country and organizing the distribution of relief items.
He emphasized however that sailors and marines were designated to continue watching over the country's EEZ.
In April, Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. said the Philippines filed two diplomatic protests against China over supposed violations of international law and Philippine sovereignty in the territory.
The protests called out China for pointing a radar gun at a Philippine Navy ship and declaring parts of Philippine territory as part of Hainan province
In 2016, the Philippines won against China in a ruling by an international tribunal that invalidated Beijing’s massive claims in the South China Sea.