Skip to main content

Military now mum on Panatag situation

MANILA, Philippines - Defense and military officials are now withholding comment on developments in Panatag (Scarborough) Shoal off Zambales that is also being claimed by China.

“Statements on monitoring of the situation is no longer within our level,” a military official based in Northern Luzon told The STAR yesterday, referring to the ongoing standoff in Panatag Shoal, which is 124 nautical miles from Masinloc, Zambales.

The Northern Luzon Command (Nolcom) under Lt. Gen. Anthony Alcantara has operational jurisdiction over Panatag Shoal.

Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin said the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) is now dealing with all underlying matters resulting from the month-long territorial standoff.

“Huwag natin palakihin pa (Let’s not make this issue bigger),” Gazmin said, referring to the series of pronouncements coming from Beijing, including a claim made by a Chinese television commentator saying that the Philippines belongs to China.

China also declared its readiness for “any escalation” in the event the Panatag Shoal standoff worsens.

A month ago yesterday, two Chinese Maritime Surveillance Vessels (CMS) prevented the Philippine Navy flagship BRP Gregorio del Pilar from arresting Chinese fishermen who were poaching inside the lagoon of Panatag Shoal.

The standoff continued after Beijing deployed one of its modern ships, the FLEC (Fisheries and Law Enforcement Command) 310 in the area in support of their other vessels that are now pre-positioned in the mouth of the lagoon.

Local fishermen from Masinloc, Zambales complained that Chinese vessels have barred them from entering Panatag Shoal.

Members of the militant fisherfolk group Pamalakaya dared presidential spokesman Edwin Lacierda and Defense Secretary Gazmin to visit Panatag Shoal to see how Filipino fishermen are being barred from entering the lagoon in Panatag Shoal that is also called Bajo de Masinloc and Karburo by local fishermen.

“The people and the local government of Masinloc are telling the world that small fishermen are barred from entering Panatag Shoal,” said Fernando Hicap, Pamalakaya president.

Masinloc Mayor Desiree Edora said that Chinese vessels have prevented local fishermen from fishing inside the lagoon of Bajo de Masinloc.

Edora’s municipal secretary RJay Bautista said that these recent incidents at Bajo de Masinloc have been recorded by the Navy and by the Nolcom troops who interviewed the fishermen following their return from Panatag Shoal last Sunday.

Meanwhile, the defense department is also mum on the decision of Chinese travel agencies to suspend tourist packages to the Philippines.

“Let us not blow that up. We’ll just let the DFA (Department of Foreign Affairs) answer that,” Gazmin said.

Rommel Banlaoi, executive director of think tank Philippine Institute for Peace, Violence and Terrorism Research, dismissed the move of the Chinese travel agencies.

“That is not prudent for China to suspend tourist packages to the Philippines amid the Panatag Shoal standoff,” Banlaoi said.

“If that is true, it is not a friendly gesture, considering that years 2012 and 2013 have been declared years of friendly exchanges between the Philippines and China,” he added.

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Jaime Laude | The Philippine Star | May 11, 2012 | Article Link

Comments

More Philippine Defense News

AFP Modernization 2017: Highlights and Review

The modernization of the Armed Forces of the Philippines was on a roll this year, as we've seen a few big ticket items having completely delivered this year. Game changers as they say, these new assets have proven their capabilities both in combat and humanitarian missions.

Here's a brief on everything what we know about the AFP modernization this 2017.

Philippine Air Force  FA-50PH


The final batch of the FA-50PH Lead-In Fighter Trainers have been successfully delivered by the Korean Aerospace Industries last May. The last batch of 2 arrived on May 31st at Clark Air Base. The contract consist of 12 FA-50's at the price of Php 18.9 billion. AFP spokesperson Brig. Gen. Restituto Padilla mentioned on a March 23 article in Inquirer that there are plans to purchase 6 more additional FA-50's if the funding allows it and if the performance is good.

FA-50PH Weapons - AIM-9 Air-to-air Missiles
Aside from the aircraft itself the Department of National Defense also ordered AIM-9

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…

2 deliveries in 2018 to beef up Philippine Navy's capability

Two more platforms which will help boost the Philippine Navy (PN)'s capabilities to defend the country's vast maritime domains are expected to be delivered this 2018. This was bared by Defense spokesperson Arsenio Andolong when sought for an update on other deliverable items for the PN this year.
3 MPAC mk3's with Spike ER System This has been discussed already in the AFP Modernization 2017 Highlights article.  

First among the deliverables is the Rafael Advanced Defense Systems Ltd's Spike ER (extended range) missile systems which will be fitted on three of the Navy's brand-new multi-purpose assault craft (MPAC) which was activated last May 22.

The weapons are on anti-ship mode meaning it can engage surface vessel targets and is capable of penetrating 1,000 mm (39 inches) of rolled homogeneous armor and has a maximum range of five miles. And while not giving the exact dates for the delivery of the missiles and its platforms for security purpose, Andolong said the…