Sunday, June 09, 2013

Philippine Army ready to repel Chinese fleet

The military is ready to defend the country’s sovereignty in case a large Chinese fleet reportedly headed for the Spratlys enters Philippine territory.

Speaking to reporters, Armed Forces spokesman Brig. Gen. Domingo Tutaan Jr. said the defense of Philippine sovereignty will involve the entire government.

“We are taking action on the report… so that we will be able to advise other government agencies and so the AFP will be able to undertake what should be undertaken,” he said.

Asked if the Chinese would be arrested if they enter Philippine waters, Tutaan said it would depend “on the ground situation.”

The country’s sovereignty will also be asserted through a diplomatic protest, he said.

Col. Edgard Arevalo, Navy spokesman for West Philippine Sea issues, said the Navy is closely monitoring the huge Chinese fleet reportedly sailing toward the Spratlys.

“We have our own Navy ships patrolling the area,” he said.

“We have sailors and Marines stationed in or near the area that shall serve as our eyes and ears.

“But as of now, it’s too early to comment on what to do if they will enter Philippine territory as that remains to be a contingency as of the moment.”

Arevalo said the Navy has orders to monitor and report any unusual incidents in the Spratlys.

“These include intrusions and other illegal activities like fishing in our maritime domain,” he said.

“The Philippine Navy, being a force provider, will act as directed by higher headquarters,” he added.

Arevalo said the Navy will secure Philippine territory despite its limited capabilities.

“Your sailors and Marines manning their posts are, and will remain, steadfast in performing their mandate to secure our maritime and territorial domains,” he said.

The Palawan-based Armed Forces Western Command has also been tasked to intensify monitoring in the West Philippine Sea, Tutaan said.

On Tuesday, Chinese media reported that a large Chinese fishing fleet had been sent to the Spratlys,

State-run China Daily said the fleet includes 30 fishing vessels each weighing more than 100 metric tons.-ABS-CBN News

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