DND: PH verifying if ship in West PH Sea collision belonged to China

Robie de Guzman   •   June 13, 2019   •   2088

Department of National Defense (DND) Secretary Delfin Lorenzana

The Philippine government has yet to determine if the fishing vessel that hit and sank a Filipino boat near Reed Bank in the West Philippine Sea belonged to China, Department of National Defense (DND) Secretary Delfin Lorenzana clarified on Thursday.

Speaking to reporters in Davao City, Lorenzana said he based his report on the statement of involved fishermen and that he is still awaiting the results of the investigation being conducted by the Philippine Coast Guard and the Philippine Military.

“I will not anymore add something sa sinabi ko. Hangga’t hindi namin nakakausap ‘yung mga fisherman at tsaka magkaroon tayo ng intel investigation kung sino talaga ang nakabangga dahil madilim ‘yun eh,” he said.

The defense chief earlier said that a suspected Chinese fishing boat hit and sank a Philippine boat in waters off the Reed bank on June 9.

READ: DND: Chinese vessel hit, sank PH vessel in Recto Bank

He had denounced the action of the alleged Chinese fishing vessel for leaving immediately after the collision, endangering the lives of 22 Filipino fishermen.

Lorenzana said the Chinese government has already been informed and an investigation has been launched into the incident.

Malacañang earlier called on Beijing to impose proper sanctions against the Chinese crewmen for their “uncivilized” and “outrageous” actions.

READ: PH wants China to sanction ship crew for sinking Filipino fishing boat

Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin has assured that a diplomatic protest has been filed over the collision incident.

Although Malacañang earlier said that the recent incident may mar the warming relations between the Philippines and China, Lorenzana believes this will not greatly affect the two countries’ ties.

“Hindi naman siguro malaking bagay na maapektuhan. We will find out kung ano ‘yung action nila,” he said.

He also advised fishermen who frequent waters in the West Philippine Sea to employ safety mechanisms to prevent any more collision between vessels.

“Siguro, there should be some mechanism, ‘yung mayroon kang ilaw palagi para makikita, ‘yung iba naman they should be very careful in travelling at night,” Lorenzana said.

While Philippine forces are patrolling the area, the defense chief lamented the country’s insufficient number of coast guards and sea crafts to guard its borders.

“Mayroon naman tayong mga patrol dyan, kulang lang kasi tayo ng barko eh. We don’t have enough coastguards that is why we’ll acquire it all para mayroon naman tayong pang guwardya diyan sa ating mga fishermen,” he said. (Correspondent Janice Ingente contributed to this report)

Palace: Duterte will not set aside arbitral ruling on joint oil exploration with China

Aileen Cerrudo   •   September 12, 2019

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte (L) and People’s Republic of China President Xi Jinping (R) pose for posterity prior to the start of the bilateral meeting at the Diaoyutai State Guesthouse in Beijing on August 29, 2019.

The Malacañang insisted that President Rodrigo Duterte will not set aside the West Philippine Sea arbitral ruling for the joint oil exploration with China.

This was after former Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) Secretary Albert Del Rosario slammed the president’s statement.

“[Because the] exclusive economic zone is part of the arbitral ruling which we will ignore to come up with an economic activity,” President Duterte was quoted saying during the oath-taking of the Malacanang Press Corps on September 10.

Vice President Leni Robredo expressed dismay over what she referred to as ‘irresponsible’ statement of the chief executive.

However, the palace said President Duterte is not setting aside the decision of the Hague Arbitral Tribunal, as well as the exclusive economic zone (EEZ) of the country.

According to Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo, the negotiation between the Philippines and China will remain.

“The setting aside doesn’t mean that we will abandon it. what the president means, as we have repeatedly said, and as he has said too, the arbitral ruling is still subject to talks between two countries, negotiation is ongoing peacefully, meanwhile we focus on other concerns may mutually benefit the two countries,” he said.—AAC (with reports from Rosalie Coz)

Tropical depression expected to enter PAR on Thursday

Marje Pelayo   •   September 12, 2019

MANILA, Philippines – The Tropical Depression outside the Philippine area of responsibility (PAR) has slightly intensified, according to the state weather service PAGASA.

As of PAGASA’s 4:00 AM bulletin, the trough of the tropical depression is now affecting Southern Luzon and Visayas.

On Thursday (September 12), cloudy skies with scattered to widespread rainshowers and thunderstorms will be experienced specifically in CALABARZON, Bicol Region, MIMAROPA, Visayas, Zamboanga Peninsula, Aurora, Quirino, Isabela, and Cagayan.

According to the latest data from PAGASA, the center of the tropical depression was observed at 1,495 km East of Visayas with maximum sustained winds of 55 km/h and gustiness of up to 70 km/hour while moving east-northeastward at a speed of 15km/hour.

The weather system is forecast to enter PAR within 48 hrs and will be named “Marilyn”.

This weather disturbance is less likely to make landfall in the country.

Meanwhile, partly cloudy to cloudy skies with isolated rainshowers will prevail over Metro Manila and the rest of the country due to localized thunderstorms.

China opposes ‘unwelcome remarks’ from non-regional countries on SCS ruling

Aileen Cerrudo   •   September 2, 2019

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Geng Shuang (File)

China has opposed the ‘unwelcome remarks’ of non-regional countries who are calling on the Asian powerhouse to respect the South China Sea ruling.

During a press conference on August 30, Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Geng Shuang said that China’s position on the South China Sea remains clear and unchanged.

READ: Xi refuses to recognize Hague arbitral ruling

Geng also raised concerns that there are some non-regional countries who made unwelcome remarks and deliberately highlighted tensions in disregard of the efforts by regional countries to safeguard peace and stability in the South China Sea.

“China opposes that,” he said. “We urge those countries to look at the South China Sea issue objectively, stop making negative comments, and create an enabling environment for regional countries to properly handle maritime disputes and advance cooperation.”

The Foreign Ministry Spokesperson has assured that “the situation in the South China Sea remains stable and is improving.”

He said that China and the countries from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) have made progress in the code of conduct (COC) in the South China Sea.

“We, the regional countries, have the will, wisdom and capability to properly resolve the South China Sea issue and achieve long-term stability, development and prosperity in this region,” he said. — AAC

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