Camp Aquino, Tarlac – The Philippines may realign its naval assets to prevent Chinese forces from conducting any more “harassments” against Filipinos in Panatag Shoal (international name: Scarborough Shoal), a military commander said Tuesday.
“We will not allow that to happen, they cannot conquer Scarborough Shoal,” Lt. Gen. Anthony Alcantara, commander of the Armed Forces Northern Luzon Command, said in a media forum at the command’s camp here.
Alcantara made the remark after confirming that a Chinese maritime surveillance ship “harassed” the M/Y Sarangani, which was commissioned by the Philippines to conduct archaeological surveys at the shoal.
“We may realign other boats later on… we are giving special attention to Scarborough Shoal,” he said.
Presently, the Philippines only has the Coast Guard’s BRP Pampanga and the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources’ MCS-3006 at the shoal.
Meanwhile, Alcantara lashed out at China for making false pronouncements that its fisheries patrol gunboat Yuzheng 310 had left Scarborough.
The Yuzheng 310, which the Chinese embassy in Manila said had “left,” was spotted by the BRP Pampanga 8 nautical miles southeast of the shoal Monday night, he said.
“We are not doubting their claims, we are telling them they are not telling the truth,” Alcantara said.
Aside from the gunboat, a Chinese maritime surveillance vessel carrying the number 71 was spotted 12 nautical miles away.
“They are there and are most likely bent on staying in the area,” Alcantara said, adding that three Chinese fishing vessels and two small boats were also spotted inside and outside the shoal. (John Roson)
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