Wednesday, May 02, 2012

Philippine ships to stay at Scarborough Shoal

MANILA, Philippines—”We will stand our ground.”

So declared Raul Hernandez, the Department of Foreign Affairs’ spokesperson, as he told a radio interview on Wednesday that Philippine vessels would remain at Scarborough Shoal in the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea).

The shoal is also called Panatag and Bajo de Masinloc by the Philippine government.

“We have one Coast Guard search-and-rescue vessel, the BRP Edsa, and one Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources ship plus three fishing boats in the shoal lagoon,” Hernandez reported.

On the other hand, “China has four maritime surveillance ships (FLEC 310, CMS 71, CMS 75 and CMS 81), eight fishing boats plus 11 service boats (or dinghies) at the shoal,” he said.

Hernandez insisted the Chinese vessels were violating the country’s territorial sovereignty by engaging in illegal fishing activities in the shoal.

“Bajo de Masinloc is part of Philippine territory and territorial waters,” he said.

He added that China has been violating Manila’s sovereign rights by preventing the government from enforcing its laws in the Philippines’ 200-nautical-mile Exclusive Economic Zone.

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