MANILA - Cabinet Secretary Karlo Nograles on Monday explained President Duterte's statements during his State of the Nation Address wherein the President said China is in possession of the West Philippine Sea.
"Ini-explain lang niya sa taong bayan na it's not that simple as what the opposition makes it appear to be. It's not as simple as that. It's a very delicate situation, and as the father of the nation, he has to balance a lot of things," he said.
He said the President is not abandoning the Philippines' claim of ownership over the disputed area.
"We are still standing by it but iyun na nga, there are implications that's why ang kanyang polisiya, patuloy ang pag-uusap, patuloy ang pakikipag-negotiate but without surrendering our sovereign rights over the exclusive economic zone," he said.
"Ultimately, ang tinitingnan ng Pangulo is the safety of the country at lahat ng mga kababayan nating mga Pilipino, without letting go of our claims sa EEZ, without surrendering the EEZ," he added.