Gov’t to ‘re-evaluate’ re-deployment of ships in Panatag

Posted at 06/17/12 1:36 PM

MANILA, Philippines - The government will have to re-evaluate its options whether or not ships will be deployed back to the Scarborough Shoal once the weather clears.

In an interview with radio dzRB, deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte did not comment if the deployment will be based on consequent decisions from China. She only said: “If the weather improves, there will be a reevaluation, but that’s it.”

On Saturday, Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario said President Benigno Aquino gave orders to pull out the vessels of the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) and the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources because of bad weather.

The Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) upgraded "Butchoy" to typhoon status before noon yesterday. It warned of heavy rains and strong winds, especially in the western region.

Scarborough, or Panatag Shoal, is found off Masinloc, Zambales. The Philippines has been on a standoff with China in the area, which is rich in resources, since April 10.

Despite all these, Chinese boats remain stationed there.

Asked if the government will deploy anew if the Chinese boats will not pullout, Valte said: “I can’t answer that question. That will be part of the re-evaluation.”

She said the re-evaluation will be done by the PCG, Armed Forces of the Philippines, departments of National Defense and Foreign Affairs and the Office of the President.