Quirino Atoll unpatrolled since 2014

THE Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) admitted that it has already been two years since they last conducted patrolling in the Quirino Atoll, which is situated in the disputed area in the Spratly Island.

PCG spokesperson Armand Balilo said the government has refrained them from patrolling the Philippine-claimed territories in the disputed seas since it filed case in the arbitration court in Hague against China over territorial disputes.

"Ang pilosopiya ng gobyerno ay walang patrol sa area dahil sa ifinile natin sa The Hague. We are told not to do anything that will jeopardize our position sa international tribunal," he said.

"So lahat ng barko, pati sa Bajo de Masinloc ay pinull out namin. So dalawang taon nang walang nagpa-patrol sa area," Balilo added.

The PCG made the statement following the alleged sighting of Chinese Navy and coast guard ships in the Philippine-claimed Qurino Atoll.

The Chinese vessels were reportedly barring Filipino fishermen to enter the area.

The Department of Foreign Affairs said there were no more sightings of Chinese vessels in the area as of Wednesday since it was reported to them two weeks ago.

The Philippines has an ongoing case against China before the arbitration court in the Hague over the South China Sea (West Philippine Sea) disputes.

China is reportedly claiming almost the entire South China Sea which is believed to have huge deposits of oil and gas.

Aside from China, Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, Taiwan, and Vietnam also have claims on the waters, through which about $5 trillion in trade is shipped every year.

Balilo said they are willing to go back to patrolling in the said territories if the government permits them.

Source: Sun Star

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