By Priam Nepomuceno

AFP spokesperson Col. Francel Margareth Padilla (Screengrab from PTV)

MANILA – The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) said Wednesday it is ready to coordinate with Senator Imee Marcos over her claim that 25 areas in the country were potential targets of Chinese hypersonic missiles.

“Regarding Senator Imee Marcos’ statement about 25 areas potentially targeted by China’s hypersonic missiles due to EDCA (Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement) sites and the West Philippine Sea scenario, the AFP takes such concerns seriously. We are ready to coordinate with Senator Marcos to obtain details and take appropriate actions to ensure our nation’s security,” AFP spokesperson Col. Francel Margareth Padilla said in a message to reporters.

A report by GMA News on Tuesday quoted the lawmaker as expressing concern over China’s alleged plan.

The move is allegedly in response to the Philippines’ approval of the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement (EDCA), which allowed the United States to set up sites in the country for the use of Filipino and American military units and ongoing tensions in the West Philippine Sea.

“Sa pagbabasa natin, may mga missile na sa Batanes, pati sa Subic, so ‘yung dalawang ‘yun ang uunahin kasama ng Ilocos, kasi may mga live-fire na Balikatan. Kakatakot nga eh, ano ba yan, bente singko ah, hindi biro ‘yun (Based on what we read, there are missiles in Batanes and in Subic, so those two would be the first targets together with Ilocos because of Balikatan live-fire drills. It’s scary, what is that, we are talking of 25 here, that is not a joke),” the presidential sister said in a video.

The Department of National Defense (DND), meanwhile, declined to comment on Marcos’ claim.

“The Defense Department has no basis for a comment or reaction to Sen. Marcos’ video, because we have not seen nor read the plans that she referred to,” DND spokesperson Arsenio Andolong said in a statement.

Hypersonic missiles are weapons capable of flying toward their target with speeds of five to 25 times the speed of sound.

These weapons are hard to track and intercept with ordinary air defense systems. (PNA)