Chinese creeping into Rizal Reef

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THAT’S OURS  Businessman Mel Velarde points to the Kalayaan (Spratlys) islands as shown on the replica of a 1734 Philippine map which he acquired through auction in London as female soldiers of the People’s Liberation Army ham it up for the cameras in one of the pictures purportedly taken at the Kagitingan (Fiery Cross) Reef which China occupied and reclaimed. PHOTOS BY RENE H. DILAN AND SINA.COM.CH

THAT’S OURS
Businessman Mel Velarde points to the Kalayaan (Spratlys) islands as shown on the replica of a 1734 Philippine map which he acquired through auction in London as female soldiers of the People’s Liberation Army ham it up for the cameras in one of the pictures purportedly taken at the Kagitingan (Fiery Cross) Reef which China occupied and reclaimed. PHOTOS BY RENE H. DILAN AND SINA.COM.CH

MARIVELES, Bataan: Fishermen here on Thursday alerted the government to the presence of Chinese naval patrols in the Rizal (Commodore) Reef, one of the 10 remaining areas in the Kalayaan (Spratlys) island group under Philippine control.

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Donie Cabacungan, skipper of the fishing boat MB Denmark, said they could no longer get near the reef as armed Chinese Coast Guard personnel on board speed boats would chase and drive them away.

“We call on the government to protect our territory. The Chinese are already there even at Commodore which is very near a Philippine military outpost. The Chinese Navy has been circling the area,” he told The Manila Times in Filipino.

The Rizal Reef is approximately 200 nautical miles from Puerto Princesa City, Palawan, and closest to the Palawan town of Balabac. The reef has a total land area of 3.7 hectares if not submerged under water during high tide.

Cabacungan said that about a week ago, they monitored a radio message from a boat captain from Iloilo claiming that a Chinese naval boat with bow number 29 drove them away from the reef.

“There are Filipino soldiers stationed at Commodore but nonetheless, the Chinese continue to encircle the reef to prevent us from fishing in the area,” he added.

Valeriano Quimson, skipper of the fishing boat John Alex, said they have not returned to Panatag (Scarborough) Shoal since April after their boat got destroyed when a Chinese Coast Guard ship trained its water cannon at them.

“We just use a payaw [a fish aggregating device]fo fish. The catch is low and we only get smaller fish. It’s just enough to make us afford to buy rice for our families,” he added. “It would’ve been better if we could fish at Scarborough. The fish are bigger there and command a higher price in the market.”

Quimson said their income has dropped by 30 to 50 percent since they were barred from Scarborough.

War not an option
Malacañang on Friday sought to allay fears that a maritime and territorial dispute with China in the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea) would lead to war.

Its deputy spokesman Abigail Valte said the government will not let the dispute escalate into an armed conflict.

“The government is very cautious in dealing with the issue as we don’t want incidents that have a tendency of escalating to happen,” she told reporters in Filipino. “Should things escalate, what will happen to our soldiers who are there facing danger, and also to ordinary people like us/”

Valte was reacting to a Social Weather Stations survey, which said eight of 10 Filipinos fear a possible armed conflict between the Philippines and China over the Panatag Shoal.

“It will be unnatural if you don’t worry about armed conflict because in an armed conflict, no one wins,” she said.

Girl power
A Chinese website has posted pictures showing female soldiers hamming it up for the camera at the Kagitingan (Fiery Cross) Reef, one of the areas in the West Philippine Sea where a massive land reclamation is in progress.

A slideshow of the pictures on the website sina.com.ch also shows soldiers tending to vegetable gardens, pigs in a pen and a dog lazing around.

One female soldier was photographed posing on a marker with an inscription that reportedly says “Awe-inspiring South China Sea.”

With CATHERINE S. VALENTE

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9 Comments

  1. Arch. Lito L.Mallonga on

    Hindi nakukuha sa ebidensiya ang MAP lamang.
    More solid evidences are needed to back it up.
    That is why not only China but other countries
    including Taiwan that they own this contested
    Kalayan Island .

    Look at Taiwan again . Does not learn from passed experience
    with our coast gurads near Batanes , Our Philippine Coast
    Guard intercepted those Taiwan Fishing Boat but can do nothing
    due to the support of their bigger Navy Ship.

    Unless we just seat and do nothing within our bounderies no
    matter what , they will just ignor us and at the end there will be no
    more fish left for our fisherman to feed our people. They overfish
    in there country so now they have to look outside to feed their
    people .

    This is nothing but to make sure they have the supply of fishes
    to feed there people and nothing more. But I am sure this will not
    be tolerated for long. Less politics and reduce corruption as well vote
    for someone who is more qualified to run next coming election.
    One who has concern towards helping the people like the late
    Pres. Ramon Magsaysay who up to this time no one has ever
    come closed up to this time.

    Do not lie on who you are cause sooner or later it will come
    out anyway. Anyway they know who your real parents are
    from the time you came to this world .

  2. I think if we fight China alone defending our territories we don’t stand a chance. Our allies like the United States and Japan should help us. For me it would be better if we allow them to build naval bases near the West Philippine Sea to stop China from even venturing further.

  3. To be prudent and patient during the early days the Chinese were just putting “markers” was understandable. To send letters of protest when the Chinese were already dredging the islands within Philippines territory was a cautious approach. But now that the Chinese have “swallowed” almost all islands within the Philippine EEZ and the Philippines is still “watching them”, then that is downright “COWARDICE”.
    If the civilian government can’t protect and defend the Philippines against its enemies, if it cannot protect its citizens in its own turf, then it is no surprise that OFW’s are left to fend on their own when they are in trouble abroad. Walang maaasahan sa gobiyernong ito sa panahon ng gipitan. Sa nakawan lang magaling ang mga pinuno ng bansang Pilipinas !!
    This not a question anymore of China being the bigger guy and the Philippines as the peep-squeak. This is a question of “resolve” on the part of the government. If the government just keeps on airing the “play-by-play” by China without doing anything, then they just better shut up. It is bad enough that the civilian government is a bunch of cowards, talking about their cowardice makes it even worse.

  4. The problem is that we have a coward President who doesnt want to do things the hardway he is a lazy SOB and a corrupt DND/AFP who doesnt want to fight.

  5. The chinese are glad to hear Malacanang are scared the dispute might escalate to a more serious problem. And so the chink thought they can move closer to Philippine mainland and grab more of West Phil Seas. After all, what the chinese believe the “Pilipinos ain’t worth dying for” coming from Malacanang statement against the incursion.

  6. sonny dela cruz on

    The Philippine Airforce should SINK the Chinese coast Guard for intentionally patrolling the Philippine waters and depriving our fishermen of their LIVELIHOOD. This is already a DECLARATION OF WAR, The Philippine government should know this and stop doing nothing. They must protect the integrity of our SOVEREIGNTY as a free nation. Just sink that ships then WAIT COMES NEXT. The Allies are there anyhow to see if they will help if the Philippines can rely on them. SINK THEM.

  7. Let’s send in our navy seals in the dead of night and kick some chinese butts.
    then apologize in the morning and say oh we didn’t know we were in chinese
    territory.