'Bajo de Masinloc is ours'

While boasting of initiatives for military upgrade, President Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino III has made a stand: Bajo de Masinloc is owned by the Philippines.

"Mayroon po tayong mga miron na nagsasabing hayaan na lang ang Bajo de Masinloc; umiwas na lang tayo. Pero kung may pumasok sa inyong bakuran at sinabing sa kanya na ang kanyang kinatatayuan, papayag ba kayo? Hindi naman po yata tamang ipamigay na lang natin sa iba ang sadyang atin talaga [There are those who say that we should let Bajo de Masinloc go; we should avoid the trouble. But if someone entered your yard and told you he owned it, would you agree? Would it be right to give away that which is rightfully ours?]," Aquino said in his third State of the Nation Address.

Aquino said that as PH aims to be diplomatic about the Scarborough Shoal row, it won't be too much to ask China to "respect rights" of the Filipinos.

"We demonstrated utmost forbearance in dealing with this issue. As a sign of our goodwill, we replaced our navy cutter with a civilian boat as soon as we could. We chose not to respond to their media’s harangues. I do not think it excessive to ask that our rights be respected,  just as we respect their rights as a fellow nation in a world we need to share," said Aquino.

Aquino then moves to call on the nation to join him in maintaining PH territory.

"Tulungan ninyo akong iparinig sa kabilang panig ang katuwiran ng ating mga paninindigan," he said, as he noted that PH is already seeking ways--through the help of experts and neighboring countries--to peacefully end territory disputes.

Aquino also boasted of upgrading the country arsenal.

"May mga nagsabi nga po na ang ating Air Force, all air, at no force. Imbes na alagaan ng estado, para bang sinasadyang ilagay sa alanganin ang ating mga sundalo. Hindi po tayo makakapayag na manatiling ganito," he said.

Aquino said at least P28 billion have been set aside for the AFP Modernization Program, apart from the $30 million-fund donated by the U.S. for the Defense Capability upgrade.

"Nagka-canvass na rin po ang Sandatahang Lakas ng mga kagamitan tulad ng mga kanyon, personnel carrier, at frigate. Hindi magtatagal, dadaong na ang karelyebo ng BRP Gregorio del Pilar sa ating pampang. Sa Enero, aangkla na po sa Pilipinas ang BRP Ramon Alcaraz, ang pangalawa nating Hamilton class cutter. Di na po bangkang papel ang ating ipapalaot; ngayon, mga hi-tech at de-kalidad na barko na ang tatanod sa 36,000 kilometers nating coastline," he said.

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