Tensions over Philippines and China’s territorial claims in the West Philippine Sea are made up, Malacañang said on Tuesday.

In a virtual presser, Palace spokesman Harry Roque claimed the tension was only made up and being sensationalized by the opposition.

“Wala po akong nakikitang tensiyon sa West Philippine Sea. Ang tensiyon ho ay binubuo ng mga kritiko dito lang sa Pilipinas,” he said,

“Hindi po kagaya noong nangyari doon sa Scarborough Shoal. Ang ingay po ay naririto sa Pilipinas lamang,” he added.

There had been several instances of Filipino fishermen being sunk by Chinese vessels in the disputed waters.

A maritime patrol on May 9 found 287 Chinese ships in the West Philippine Sea, despite diplomatic protests of the Philippines against the presence of Chinese ships in the disputed waters.

On Monday, President Rodrigo Duterte asserted his stand that the Philippines would never go to war against China.

He also said Philippine vessels in the West Philippine Sea would stay put, even as he acknowledged that the Philippines had a “debt of gratitude” to China.

“Ayaw kong makipag-away nga sa China…Inuulit ko, may utang na loob kami malaki, malaki ang utang na loob,” Duterte said. John Ezekiel J. Hirro