China to use Recto Bank incident to check Phl reaction when similar incident happens in WPS

Maris Federez   •   June 19, 2019   •   3436

A lawmaker believes that what happened in Recto Bank (or Reed Bank) is connected with the territorial disputes in the West Philippine Sea (or South China Sea).

Senator Panfilo Lacson said he received information that the incident is China’s means to check on how the Philippines will react.

“Not from a local source na hindi ko tinanong kung ano ang basis. Ang sinasabi doon is it was a test of how far back we can go. Kasi kung alam nilang urong tayo ng urong, sulong sila ng sulong,” Lacson added.

Lacson said the report he received showed that a Chinese Militia vessel rammed the Filipino fishing boat.

China had claimed almost the entire South China Sea based on the Nine-Dash Line Theory it adopted.

It also showed interest on Recto or Reed Bank as the area is rich in oil and gas deposits.

The senator said the country can always use the Mutual Defense Treaty it has with the United States to prevent China’s bullying at the West Philippine Sea.

Lacson said this is a means to maintain balance of power.

“I’m not saying we implement it. Pero hihintayin pa ba nating magkaroon ng armed attack? Lalong escalation yun. Mas maganda na ginamit natin yung treaty to act proactively,” he reiterates.

Lacson also called out Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo for his seeming partiality with China and for not taking sides with the Filipino fishermen whose lives were thrown in danger.

To which, Panelo was quick to respond, pointing out that what the senator was saying was far from the truth.

He also stressed that President Duterte is not taking China’s side.

“The President is a thinking, cautious and responsible President. Not an irresponsible and reckless President that others would (label) him to be,“ Panelo said.

He added, “I’m echoing the line of the President when he says let us wait for the final findings of facts of the investigation being conducted by both countries.” (with reports from Nel Maribojoc) /mbmf

Duterte returns from ‘productive’ China visit

Marje Pelayo   •   September 2, 2019

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte arrives at the Villamor Air Base in Pasay City on September 1, 2019 following his successful official visit to the People’s Republic of China. KING RODRIGUEZ/PRESIDENTIAL PHOTO

MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte is back in the country after his four-day working visit to China.

According to Malacañang, the President’s visit has been productive and has opened new opportunities for the country.

Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo also noted that President Duterte successfully raised the Philippines’ maritime concerns in the disputed areas in the West Philippine Sea or South China Sea given the already established friendship with Chinese President Xi Jinping.

The two leaders agreed to push through with the final code of conduct to prevent future escalation of tensions in the disputed waters.

Both leaders also vowed to exercise self-restraint in their respective troops and abide by the international law and the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) to prevent conflict.

They agreed, likewise, to respect each country’s freedom of navigation and overflight in the disputed areas as they both believe that the existing maritime dispute can be resolved through peaceful negotiations.

Panelo explained, however, that the administration is no longer expecting future discussions on the arbitral ruling between the Philippines and China under President Duterte.

“The issue of conflict should not be the sum total of the relationship between the two countries and that they should move forward but at the same time continue with the dialogue peacefully on the issue,” Panelo said.

Panelo said, the President has already talked to Chinese Premier Li Keqiang who promised the Chief Executive that cooperation between the two countries will continue especially regarding economic development and people-to-people exchanges.

Likewise, China vowed to support the administration’s infrastructure projects under its flagship agenda Build, Build, Build program. – MNP (with details from Rosalie Coz)

All eyes on PH as Duterte arrives in China to discuss sea row

Marje Pelayo   •   August 29, 2019

President Rodrigo Duterte

MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte arrived in China on Wednesday evening (August 28) for a three-day working visit and meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping.

The Palace is confident that China will hear the President once he opens up The Hague’s arbitral ruling over the territorial dispute in the West Philippines Sea considering the solid bond that the two countries have already established.

The discussion, according to Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo, aims to prevent further escalation of tension and violence at sea due to the decade-long maritime dispute.

“I think China will have an open ear, after all they kept on saying that we’re friends and friends can always talk on anything,” Panelo said.

“Moreover, it’s really about time to talk about it since if the concern is maritime security, and peace in the region, then they really have to talk because this has been a source of some irritants between the two countries as well as other countries,” he added.

Also, included in the agenda of the President’s visit is the proposed joint exploration with China in the WPS under the ’60-40 sharing scheme.’ This means that the Philippines will get 60% of the profit while China will receive the remaining 40%.

“It’s mutually beneficial because both countries are agreeing on a modus vivendi with respect to the exploitation of natural resources,” Panelo said.

Meanwhile, Malacañang has accepted the recent apology of the owner of the Chine vessel to the involved Filipino fishermen in the June 9 maritime incident in Recto Bank.

“We accept the recent apology extended by the owner of the Chinese vessel to our fishermen affected by the incident,” Panelo said.

“We likewise welcome the owner’s humility to take responsibility and acknowledgment that compensation must be provided to cover the actual loss,” he added.

Duterte and Xi will meet on Thursday evening (August 29) and shall witness the signing of certain agreements between the two countries.

Joining President Duterte in China are nine of his Cabinet officials to include:

  1. Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin, Jr.
  2. Executive Secretary Salvador Medialdea
  3. Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III
  4. Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana
  5. Trade and Industry Secretary Ramon Lopez
  6. Science and Technology Secretary Fortunato Dela Pena
  7. Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi
  8. National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon
  9. Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo

Also included in the President’s delegation are Commission on Higher Education Chairperson Prospero De Vera III and Customs Commissioner Rey Guerrero. – MNP (with details from Rosalie Coz)

Owner of Chinese vessel apologizes over Reed Bank incident

Aileen Cerrudo   •   August 28, 2019

The wreckage of Philippine fishing boat, F/B Gem-Ver after getting hit by a Chinese fishing vessel while anchored in Reed Bank on June 9, 2019.

The owner of the Chinese vessel, through a Chinese ‘Association’, has apologized for the Recto Bank incident last June 9.

In a memorandum posted by the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) on Twitter, the Chinese ‘Association’ where the shipowner is a member, sends their sympathies to the Filipino fishermen for the collision between the Chinese and Philippine fishing boats.

The name of the said association was not disclosed by the DFA.

The association also came up with the accident investigation report. They reiterated that the said collision was “an unintentional mistake”. However, they still believe that the Chinese vessel should still take the major responsibility for the “accident”.

“Our association will urge the shipowner of the fishing boat involved to actively coordinate with the Philippine side to expedite the latter’s claim for compensation according to the procedures for insurance claim,” the memorandum states.

On June 9, 22 Filipino fishermen were abandoned after a Chinese vessel “accidentally” rammed their fishing boat in Recto Bank.—AAC

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