Skip to main content

7 Chinese ships still in Scarborough area, says military commander

CAMP AQUINO, Tarlac City, Philippines—The leader of the military’s Northern Luzon Command has belied China’s claim it had withdrawn most of its vessels in the Panatag Shoal.

Nolcom chief Lieutenant General Anthony Alcantara said the Chinese embassy was “not telling the truth” when it said that only one Chinese Maritime Surveillance Ship remained at Panatag—called Huangyan Island by China—for its “law enforcement missions.”

In a briefing for defense reporters here, Alcantara said at least seven Chinese vessels remained in the vicinity of the contested shoal, known internationally as Scarborough Shoal, including two small fishing boats anchored on the lagoon and three other fishing vessels off the sandbar.

Alcantara said two Chinese maritime ships, the FLEC 310, a gunboat which the Chinese insisted was just a fishery administration vessel, and one of three Chinese Maritime Surveillance Ships, or CMS 71, were  sighted in the Panatag waters as of 8 p.m. Monday.

Two more surveillance ships, the CMS 84 and 75, have not been spotted since disappearing over the weekend but were believed to just be replenishing provisions and refueling somewhere in the Chinese mainland, he added.

The presence of the ships, according to Alcantara, belied a statement from the Chinese embassy on Monday afternoon that only one surveillance ship remained in the area, and that the two others had been recalled.

In a statement sent by e-mail to reporters at 6:13 p.m. on Monday, Chinese embassy spokesperson Zhang Hua said only one Chinese Maritime Surveillance Ship remained at Panatag.

“The withdrawal of the two ships proves once again China is not escalating the situation as some people said, but de-escalating the situation,” Zhang said.

But Alcantara said one of the Chinese surveillance vessels, the CMS 71, was about 12 nautical miles southeast of the Philippine Coast Guard ship BRP Pampanga, which was standing watch over Panatag, while the FLEC 310, also called Yuzheng 310, was about eight nautical miles southeast of the shoal.

On the other hand, on the Philippine side, only a Coast Guard ship, the BRP Pampanga, and a Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources ship, the MCS3006, which arrived on Monday, are in the Panatag waters to stand guard, he said.

“Right now the situation in the area is stable. There is no untoward incident right now. What we’re taking care of and what were watching out for is our Philippine fishermen,” Alcantara said, deflecting questions on whether there was still a “standoff.”

“Because of diplomatic talks in progress, we’re avoiding any untoward incident. There’s a standstill but I think they have stopped taking corals and the like. Those things have stopped. What’s going on is normal fishing (by the Chinese) in the area,” for their food, he said.

“We also challenge some of them from time to time,” Alcantara said but did not elaborate.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Comments

More Philippine Defense News

DND wants frigate with 'surface-to-air' missile power

MANILA, Philippines - Defense spokesperson Peter Paul Galvez announced on Friday that one of the frigates to be acquired by the Philippines will have "surface-to-air" capabilities. That is, the ship will have the capability to fire missiles, guided by radar or heat sensors, at airborne targets.
"Aside from this, our latest frigate will have heavier gun armament and other equipment that will make it very effective in patrolling and securing the country's waters," Galvez said in Filipino.
He declined to state the particular country the Philippines will acquire this ship but stressed that acquisition will be done through a government-to-government transaction.
The Philippines has taken on a new sense of urgency to upgrade its naval capabilities as tensions continue to rise around the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea). US President Barack Obama's announced "pivot" for America towards the Pacific has stirred greater naval activity on the p…

No reduction in AFP manpower size

THERE will be no reduction in the number of soldiers of the Armed Forces of the Philippines when it implements the streamlining of commands by 2013, a senior officer told the Manila Standard in an exclusive interview.
“Under the Force Structure Review, there will be streamlining of units but this does not mean reduction in terms of the number of soldiers. In fact, the FSR calls for more recruits in the future,” the source, who requested anonymity, said.
At present, the military has a total of 125,000 soldiers, of which almost 85,000 are in the Army and the rest in the Navy-Marines and Air Force.
The FSR calls for an in-depth study of the AFP history in reference to pertinent laws of the land in conjunction with the challenges of internal and external defense.
The study also calls for the establishment of a strategic command that will focus on external defense where the main force would be the Air Force and Navy.
On instructions of Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin, former military ch…

Philippine Armored Vehicles with ad-hoc wood slat armor

While searching for Philippine armored vehicles for the updates being done for both the blog and the Facebook page I chanced upon images of Philippine Army and Marine armor assets covered with thick wood planks as slat armor for protection from rocket propelled grenades. This caught the eyes of Popular Mechanics who published an article last June 8th just for this subject.


According to the article,
Wood armor on armored vehicles won't save them from ISIS rockets. Not sure, I'll leave that to the actual reports from the Philippine Military in using wood as an ad hoc protection for rpg's, but yes this is only during emergencies. The Philippine Army and Philippine Marines should employ or use the real add-on armors currently in the market for armored vehicle protection. Or they could just simply buy new thicker-armored vehicles to be used for front-line operations and have the old vehicles to be used in secondary missions or as support vehicles.



Nonetheless the fast-thinkin…