By Louis Bacani (philstar.com) |
MANILA, Philippines - Malacañang admitted on Friday that the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) cannot simultaneously defend the whole country and the waters being claimed by China.
Deputy Presidential Spokesperson Abigail Valte made this statement after Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin proposed that PCG vessels should be deployed to the West Philippine Sea if their Chinese counterparts would continue to use water cannons to drive away local fishermen.
Valte reacted to Gazmin's suggestion by saying "That is the judgment of the Secretary of the National defense."
But she said that while PCG vessels have been on "constant patrol," certain limitations such as government resources and the country's size prevent them from guarding all Philippine waters.
"They patrol to the best of what they have and to the best of their abilities but given limitations, I think it's quite obvious that they cannot surround the entire country at the same time," Valte said.
The Palace official said all agencies such as the PCG that are related to the maritime matters "have long been advised" on how to deal with the issue since the Philippines has adopted the policy of non-provocation and non-confrontation.
On Thursday, Gazmin said the Philippines should have a calibrated "white-on-white" response with the presence of the PCG so the tension in the disputed seas will not further escalate.
When the Defense chief cited the need for a "white-on-white response," he was suggesting the deployment of civilian ships instead of naval assets.
Earlier this week, Chinese Coast Guard vessels reportedly fired water cannons at Filipino fishermen to drive them away from the Scarborough Shoal, locally known as Panatag Shoal or Bajo de Masinloc.
The incident prompted the Philippines to lodge a protest against China, which the Asian giant only rejected.
- Bong Revilla: May lightning strike liars
- Malaysia, Phl agree on peaceful settlement of disputes in South China Sea
- Bernice Lee, Zimmer Raz, Cedric Lee Submit Statements in Vhong Navarro Case
- US boxer Lydell Rhodes impressed with Pacquiao’s speed, ferocity
- Philippines should not deploy ships in disputed seas - lawyer
- Pangasinan tourism hurt by false disease report
- Blackout hits entire Mindanao grid
- Vice Ganda to Testify for Vhong Navarro
- Pacquiao begins sparring, takes on unbeaten prospect
- PH won't send Navy to Scarborough shoal