News Release

PBBM to Western Command: Continue defending PH with integrity, respect

President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. on Sunday called on the men and women of the Armed Forces of the Philippines – Western Command in Palawan to continue fulfilling their duty of defending the country with integrity and respect.

“So, on behalf of the Filipino nation, I make this great request of you: continue to fulfill your duty of defending the nation with integrity and respect as you have done so far,” President Marcos said in his message to the troops in Palawan.

“We are not in the business to instigate wars — our great ambition is to provide a peaceful and prosperous life for every Filipino. This is the drum beat — this is the principle that we live by, that we march by,” the commander-in-chief added.

“We refuse to play by the rules that force us to choose sides in a great power competition. No government that truly exists in the service of the people would invite danger or harm to lives and livelihood,” he further stated.

The President said the Philippines will continue to stay true to the nature of Filipinos “to settle issues peacefully” and will not resort to the use of force and intimidation.

However, the Filipino people are not pushovers, the President said, and the calm and peaceful approach should not be mistaken as acquiescence.

“And in the performance of our duties, we will not resort to the use of force or intimidation, or deliberately inflict injury or harm to anyone. But at the same time, we stand firm. Our calm and peaceful disposition should not be mistaken for acquiescence. History itself can tell that we have never, never in the history of Philippines, yielded to any foreign power,” President Marcos said.

“Kailanman ay hindi tayo magpapa-supil at magpapa-api kahit na kanino man. The Philippines is a responsible state. We will continue to exercise our freedoms and rights in support of our national interest, in accordance with international law,” he added.

President Marcos personally visited the troops of the Western Command in Palawan following the recent aggressive actions by China in the Ayungin Shoal where one Philippine Navy personnel was injured.

The President recalled his directive to the military during the Peace Consciousness Month in September last year to sustain their presence in Philippine waters amid increasingly aggressive activities in the West Philippine Sea (WPS).

“And you have fulfilled that mission —bravely without flinching, without hesitation,” the President stressed.

“The past few weeks have been nothing short of challenges — you can even say dangerous. But despite these challenges, you have stood up and upheld the fundamental principles that bind all of us Filipinos. A mutual respect for life, for dignity, and for community,” he added.

President Marcos also expressed his appreciation, not only to the brave women and men of the Western Command, but also to the entire AFP for exercising the greatest restraint amid intense provocation.

“You demonstrated to the world that the Filipino spirit is one that is brave, determined, and yet is compassionate. But even stronger are the people who continue to inspire and motivate you to be at your best: your families, your friends who continue to pray for your safety and to try to ease your worries,” he said.

Before concluding his speech, President Marcos assured the troops of the continued support and prayer of the government and the Filipino people, as he expressed how grateful the people are for their dedicated service.

The President awarded the Order of Lapu-Lapu Rank of Kampilan to Seaman First Class Underwater Operator Jeffrey Facundo who was wounded in the recent reprovisioning mission to BRP Sierra Madre in Ayungin Shoal while 79 others received the Order of Lapu-Lapu Rank of Kamagi.

“As we award these medals, we remember that on June 17th, we made a conscious and deliberate choice to remain in the path of peace. The government will continue to provide you all your needs and look after your welfare and your families’ welfare.,” President Marcos said.

“Kayo ang halimbawa ng isang Bagong Pilipinas. Kayo ay isa sa aming inspirasyon para lalo pang pagbutihin ang aming sinumpaang tungkulin. Let us continue to chart the destiny of our nation as that is what we are doing now. We are charting the destiny of the Philippines, one that is strengthened by diversity and united in our quest for peace,” he added. | PND