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Marcos, AFP discuss marine defense

MANILA, Philippines — President Marcos and military officials tackled the Comprehensive Archipelagic Defense Concept during a command conference at Malacañang on Tuesday.

This defense concept aims to strengthen the military to ensure the Philippines’ unimpeded exploration of marine resources within the country’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ).

In January, Defense Secretary Gilberto Teodoro Jr. explained that under the concept, the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) would transition to guarantee Filipinos, corporations and those authorized by the government the “unimpeded and peaceful exploration and exploitation of all natural resources” within the EEZ and other areas where the country has jurisdiction.

“So rather than an inward-looking defense concept, we are evolving into a defense concept which projects our power into areas where we must, by constitutional fiat and duty, protect and preserve our resources,” he said during a Manila Overseas Press Club forum last January.

In March, Teodoro said the Department of National Defense and the AFP embarked on the implementation of the defense concept.

The Philippine Army (PA) conference on Tuesday came as the country deals with China’s incursions and aggressions in the West Philippine Sea.

It also took place after Marcos presided over a Philippine Air Force command conference on Monday that zeroed in on programs aimed at strengthening the PAF’s capability to defend the country’s sovereignty and territory.

The Presidential Communications Office (PCO) said the defense concept was the center of the latest Army command conference.

It also tackled updates on the Army’s capability development program, the agency noted.

Army chief Lt. Gen. Roy Galido had engaged in a “comprehensive dialogue” with Marcos and provided him “vital” updates on the major service’s efforts to support the defense concept, Radio Television Malacañang posted on Facebook.

In 2016, a Hague-based arbitral tribunal voided China’s maritime claim, which virtually covers the entire South China Sea.

China has refused to recognize the ruling, prompting the Philippines and other countries to urge Beijing to respect the rule of law.

China has also drawn flak