MANILA, Philippines – Warships and aircraft on patrol in the South China Sea are arriving in the Philippines from US bases in Guam and Japan, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said yesterday.
Lorenzana clarified the US is not allowed to use the Philippines as a staging point to patrol the South China Sea.
He added the US aircraft, including the P3 Orion surveillance planes often seen at Clark Air Base in Pampanga, were on administration stop.
The US warships and aircraft only dock in the Philippines for the needed refueling and resupply, he said.
“What is allowed and what the US has been doing was to send their aircraft and ships from Guam and Japan to patrol the South China Sea,” Lorenzana said.
Lorenzana though conceded the Philippines is benefiting from the freedom of overflight and navigation conducted by the US in the region.