Naval Forces West commander Commodore Rustom Peña on Saturday said that the command is now preparing its sea assets to check the Chinese frigate grounded at Halfmoon Shoal (Hasa-Hasa)located at the southeastern edge of the Spratly Islands.
“I have ordered the Western Command to validate and investigate this matter,” Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin said.
“As of now we are preparing our assets. They might be arriving there late afternoon,” he said.
Peña declined to comment on whether Filipino military units near the area have visual sighting of the grounded Chinese ship.
He also said that Coast Guard units were also on their way to the area.
“We will try to render what assistance we can to the Chinese ship and its crew,” Peña said.
The Naval Forces West chief refused to comment on whether the Chinese vessel was sent out there to occupy the above-mentioned shoal.
Gazmin earlier ordered the Armed Forces of the Philippines’ Western Command to investigate reports that a Chinese frigate was grounded at Halfmoon Shoal (Hasa-Hasa).
“I have ordered the Western Command to validate and investigate this matter,” Gazmin said.
The DND chief also said that he wanted to know why the Chinese vessel was so near the Philippines and mulling the possibility of offering assistance to the stricken vessel.