By Priam F. Nepomuceno
As the maritime tiff between China and the Philippines enters its third week, Northern Luzon Command chief Lt. Gen. Anthony Alcantara on Wednesday said there are now 14 Chinese vessels in Panatag (Scarborough) Shoal compared to the two Filipino ships patrolling in the area.
This is considerably higher than the nine Chinese ships monitored by the command on Sunday.
As of 8 p.m. Tuesday, Alcantara said that the Chinese presence in Panatag (Scarborough) Shoal consisted of CMS 71, which is 13.6 nautical miles east to the relative position of BRP EDSA DOS (SAR-002); CMS 75, which is 3.3 nautical miles north of the Coast Guard ship; CMS 81, which is 11.9 nautical miles from east from BRP EDSA DOS; and FLEC 310, which is 8.3 nautical miles east of the Philippine vessel.
The ships were China’s maritime law enforcement unit, he said.
The Northern Luzon Command chief said that the present position of BRP EDSA DOS is 1.4 nautical miles northeast of Panatag Shoal’s South Rock.
As of the moment, there are now seven fishing vessels and three fishing boats inside the disputed waters, also flying the Chinese flag, he said.
He also said that Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources’ MCS 3008 helped BRP Pampanga monitor the situation.