The online news portal of TV5
MANILA, Philippines -- President Benigno Aquino III asserted the Philippines' claim to Scarborough (Panatag) Shoal, over which the country has engaged China in a standoff.
In his State of the Nation Address on Monday, Aquino also appealed to the public to unite and support his administration on the issue.
"‘Di naman ‘ata tamang ipamigay na lang sa iba ang sadyang atin talaga (It is not right to give away what is rightfully ours)," Aquino said.
At the same time, Aquino said he had asked Congress to pass a military modernization bill aimed at defending the nation's maritime interests and not to pick a fight with neighboring states.
Addressing the joint session of Congress for the third time since his election in 2010, Aquino said the military would be looking to acquire refurbished C-130 planes, Huey helicopters, combat helicopters, communication equipment, rifles and mortars.
"This is not about picking up a fight or showing off. This is not about bullying. This is about attaining peace. This is about our capability to defend ourselves," he said.
The Philippines is one of the claimants to oil-rich areas of the South China Sea, which Manila calls the West Philippine Sea, along with China, Taiwan, Brunei, Vietnam and Malaysia.