Chinese ships leave Panatag


THE Department of National Defense on Friday confirmed that Chinese vessels have left the Panatag (Scarborough) Shoal in the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea), months after occupying the area.

Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin said that aerial surveillance made on June 27 and 28 and early this week found no Chinese ships in the vicinity of the shoal.

“As far as we know, there are no more Chinese ships off Panatag,” Gazmin told reporters. He refused to comment if China’s pullout from the shoal had something to do with the recently concluded Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) expanded summit.

The Philippines earlier warned that China’s military buildup at sea threatens the peace and stability in the region.

Immediately after the warning, US Secretary of State John Kerry closed ranks with Asean and called on Beijing to start talks on a proposed sea code.

Concerns have been rising that actions by China to increase its grip on  disputed islets in the sea, a key corridor for regional and world trade, could lead to conflict with rival claimants.

Aseanhas been pushing a reluctant China for talks on a set of rules governing conduct at sea meant to avert unilateral actions that could spark trouble.

“We very much hope to see progress on a substantive code of conduct to help ensure stability in this vital region,” Kerry said at the Asean summit.

Gazmin said it is possible that the Chinese vessels pulled out because the area is usually battered by typhoons this time of year. He theorized that the Chinese may have been forced to leave the shoal when storm Gorio hit the Philippines last week.

He did not say if the government has taken steps to prevent the Chinese from re-entering the disputed area.

Panatag Shoal, considered to be a rich fishing ground, is a mere 124 nautical miles off Zambales, well within the Philippines’ 200-mile exclusive economic zone.

China and the Philippines were locked in a tense standoff last year when Chinese ships prevented Philippine officials from arresting Chinese fishermen caught poaching in the contested area.

Since then, China has maintained a presence in the shoal, retaining at least two surveillance ships and driving away Filipino fishermen.

Also on Friday, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said it will not dignify the comments of a Chinese general that the Philippines is a “troublemaker” in the West Philippine Sea.

“I just talked to the Secretary [Albert del Rosario] about this and he said, ‘this is my response: We refuse to dignify the statements made by the Chinese general,” Raul Hernandez, Foreign Affairs spokesman, said in a press briefing.

Major General Luo Yuan, a Chinese military official known for his nationalist views, took a swipe at the United States and Philippines over the territorial disputes in the West Philippine Sea.

In the reports, he called the Philippines a “troublemaker” and said the US added “fuel to the fire” by supporting Manila’s actions in the region.

Luo also warned India for stirring up trouble in the long-running border dispute between Beijing and New Delhi.

The territorial disputes in the West Philippine Sea, believed to sit atop vast reserves of oil and minerals, have been long standing. But it wasn’t until last year that the Philippines and Vietnam engaged in diplomatic spats with China following several intrusions into their territories.

The naval standoff between Beijing and Manila at the Panatag Shoal resulted in the filing by the Philippines of an arbitration case before the International Tribunal of the Law of the Sea (Itlos).

Beijing refused to join the arbitration, and pushed for bilateral talks instead.

Beijing agreed to hold consultations on the drafting of a sea Code of Conduct during the 46th Asean summit held in Brunei last week, but del Rosario expressed hopes that Beijing was “sincere.”

Del Rosario and his counterpart, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi had “testy exchanges” during the expanded minister’s forum in Brunei, according to diplomats who attended the meeting. The Foreign Affairs chief reportedly answered Wang’s allegations against the Philippines even though he was not supposed to speak.


Please follow our commenting guidelines.


  1. Reynard Montes on

    Well maybe they check that there’s no oil deposit in this place.
    or something else.

  2. We the Pilipinos must confront China’s incursion in our sea and land areas by: 1. Particape in the ongoing boycott of China made products, support or join the protest being sponsored by FilAm4Good Gov. against China’s bullying. The meetings and/protest will be held in Pilipino communities worl wide. 2. The AFP must fire warning shots when Chinese vessel(s) are sighted inside PH EEZ. China will not dare respond in kind as it will triger the duties of USA & the PH as stated in the Mutual Defense Treaty of this two countries. For my own actions, I stopped buying China made products since 2012 including my stern refusal to eat in any Chinese restaurant, even if it is free.

  3. rowel agustin on

    Kung D sana pinatalsik s marcos.malamang matagal ng sa atin ang mga lupain sa west philippine sea.Di sana tayo binubuli ng cccchina.mayamann na sana tayo ngayun.anu ginwa ni cory wala lng.sbhin nyo nga kung anu ikinaunlad ng bansa.mas lalo tayung nging kawawa.

  4. kawa naman ang pilipinas ko umaasa lang sa panahon para maitaboy ang mga mananakop ng teretoryo. di bale pilipinas ko pag tayo makipag war sa china hintayin hintayin natin ang pagdating ng lindol, bagyo, tornado tyak panalo tayo wasak ang china agad. DUGONG PINOY MANINDIGAN SA SARILING TERETORYO. Mr. pinoy ang mga askal mo nabahag na ang buntot inasa lang sa panahon para maitaboy ang mga dayuhan na umaangkin sa dagat ng pilipinas ko.

  5. Manuel Corpuz on

    The government plan to allot P75B to upgrade the military i.e. air and naval armaments for 12 fighter aircrafts and 2 frigates class ships in a period of 5 years. Why not make it an annual purchase for 1 – 2 fighter jets and a warship in 2 – 3 years. If my calculations are correct and the administration is committed to improve our defense, I think this can be done. I hope a reservation of budget can be made.

  6. resolve the issue in a diplomatic form… Take note, “war is costly and absolutely destructive”… Peace…. :)

  7. Govt should allocate 75% of the CDF (Pork Barrel Fund) of the
    Senators and Congressmen. Each senator get Php 200 Million per year for 24
    Senators, this amount to Php 4.8 Billion while each Congressman get Php 70
    Million per year for 300 Congressmen, this amount to Php 21 Billion per
    year.Total CDF for both Congress amount to almost Php 25 Billion , at 75% the
    amount will be Php 18.7 Billion. For six ( 6) years this will to amount Php 112
    Billion USD 2.73 Billion which will enable our military to procure almost 4
    squadron (48 Nos) of F16 Block C/D of F16 Jet fighters each at USD 60 Million
    from USA for the Philippine Air Force or 11 Nos of Incheon” FFX
    Frigate” each at USD 250 Million for the Philippine Navy or Twenty (22)
    battalions (eighty eight (88) batteries) of the S-300PMU (SA-10 Grumble) SAM
    system from Russia each at USD 125 Million per battalion for the Philippine
    If only our Senators and Congressmen will think about our country’s current
    situation where our country is being bully by China because of the poor state
    of our military defense equipment .The lawmakers should be Patriotic enough and
    should not think about the money that they will get from the CDF (Pork Barrel)
    Pnoy should talk to the Senators and Congressmen the importance of said CDF to our military if our country do not want to be bullied by China and will lost most of our islands and shoals in West Philippine Sea and possibly including Palawan.. If they will agree our country can place the order within end of Dec 2013 and minimum of 2 years before the first order will be delivered and digested by the arms manufacturer. Payment can be arranged based on Multi Year Payment Program which I am sure will be acceptable to the suppliers /manufacturers since the money will be included in our country’s yearly budget.

    Filipinos should demonstrate/picket the Senate and Congress for them to give up 75% of their CDF for re-allocation of the money for procurement of military equipment .

  8. The Chinese will come back ready for permanent occupation of Panatag Shoal.
    If the shoal belongs to the Philippines, it should be vigorously occupied and intruder
    chased away. A big task for the Philippines against a clever, powerful China.

  9. The Philippines must occupy the area right now. Build defense structure. Let the Filipino fisher do there job on their own sea. The bully leaves already.

  10. Reynaldo De Guzman on

    President Aquino III, now is the time to send back our fishermen to the Panatag Shoal. China maybe sincere and is now giving us the chance to go back there and remove the rope at the entrance to the lagoon so that our fishermen can resume the usual fishing activities over there. Let’s hope for PEACE and we owe it to China if indeed they are now out of our EEZ, at least at Scarboroughj Shoal.

  11. Dear PNOY,

    China’s leaving our territory is only temporary. They have bigger plans. Do not let up on your plans to buy defensive weapons. As much as possible, buy at least 10000 unmanned aerial vehicles complete with weapons in as much as the ships that you purchased are already obsolete. You can use those aerial vehicles to patrol our territory and it is cheaper to use. Also, buy a lot of the surface to air missiles and missiles that could destroy ships or carriers. If possible, buy nuclear missiles from India. These nuclear weapons are the only deterrent that China understands.

    • The problem is, our country does not have enough money to buy those weapons !!! Can we asked the CROOKED POLITICIANS and JUSTICES to give back what they had stolen from the government ?

    • Reynaldo De Guzman on

      Let’s request the wealthy politicians, for donations so that we can at least have one or two mini-submarines to patrol Panatag Shoal, Spratley, Benham rise, Batanes islands & Sulu sea. These type of stealth patrol boats will discourage these poachers playing hide and seek in our EEZ and other rich fishing grounds.

    • Juan de La Cruz on

      I do not think the Philippines has money to buy weapons. The Philippines Air Force is still in world war one technology. There is not one existing general in the Armed Forces of the Philippines to go on record to stand up against a mere Major General like Luo Yuan of China. There are too many poor, unhealthy, and disenfranchised Pilipino citizens in the barrios that do not have adequate school facilities, teachers and electricity. The rich people will only use the poor people to go to war and send their rich kids to the United States very much like Vietnam as refugees. The United States do not want any more refugees. While the poor remain in the Philippines to fight because they can not leave. One thing the corrupt Philippine Generals and Government officials have nowhere to go but the United States if China occupies the Philippines. They will be the first to run away. The American people will not go to war for the Philippines. They abandoned Vietnam remember. Just say “thank you” to both China and the U.S. for not starting a war and start solving the problems in side your homeland and continue killing pinoys in Mindanao and the NPA’s for practice. Please lets just have peace for once.

    • bayani gutierrez on

      i agree with you 100%.we should be ready for war with f#cking chinese.we need as many surface to air missile we can afford and depend our sovereighty.suspend the pork barrel and use it instead to buy attack submarine and mga aktibista,tigilan nyo ang demontrasyon sa US embassy doon kayo sa chinese embassy mag demonstrate yon ang kalaban.
      Stop buying made in china,they are not worth it.let’s unite against common enemyGOD BLESS THE PHILLIPINES.TO HELL WITH CHINA