Romualdez: Bigger defense budget for protection of PH territory

The Marcos administration will maintain a proactive stance in protecting the country’s territory and sovereignty, including allocating a higher defense budget of P282.7 billion under the proposed P5.768 trillion budget for 2024.

Romualdez issued the statement in the aftermath of the Chinese vessel firing water cannon at a Philippine resupply vessel on its way to Filipino soldiers patrolling the Ayungin shoal which is within the Philippines’ exclusive economic zone.

Romualdez said the defense allocation under the proposed 2024 national budget is 21.6% higher than the P203.4 billion appropriation in 2023.

“Our commitment to safeguarding our territorial integrity and ensuring the safety of our citizens remain unwavering. As a nation, we must take proactive measures to enhance our defense capabilities and ensure that we have the necessary resources to effectively protect our sovereign rights,” Romualdez said.

“This allocation demonstrates our dedication to maintaining a strong and credible defense posture, and one that sends a clear message that we will not compromise when it comes to safeguarding our national interests. We must remember that a strong defense is not merely a tool for confrontation, but a means to uphold peace, stability, and the rule of law,” he added.

The House leader said it is the government’s mandate to adequately equip the nation in facing any challenge that may come up at any given time.

“By prioritizing our defense sector in the budget, we are making a commitment to our people, to our allies, and to the international community, that reflects our unwavering resolve to protect our sovereignty and promote regional stability,” he said.

Romualdez also expressed his support for diplomatic actions the government is taking in response to China’s actions against the Philippine Coast Guard and civilian ships on a resupply mission last Saturday.

The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) has since sent a diplomatic note to Beijing protesting the Ayungin water cannon incident.

“We support the position that we should continue to assert our sovereignty. We should defend every inch of our territory,” he added.–LDF, GMA Integrated News

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