Clarifying  the provisions of  our PH-US defense pact  » Manila Bulletin News

Published June 19, 2019, 12:38 AM In the wake of  various  incidents involving Philippine claims and interests in the South China Sea (SCS), that  body of water west of the Philippines  that separates us from China in the north, Vietnam in the west, and Brunei and Malaysia in the south, some Philippine officials have  voiced a need to review the Mutual  Defense Treaty between the US and the Philippines. Last Friday, US Ambassador Sung  Kim, in a television interview,  reiterated the US commitment  to  honor the provisions of the treaty…

Manila to Investigate Fishing Collision in the South China Sea

situation report Jun 12, 2019 | 22:00 GMT 1 min read What Happened: Philippine Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana has called for an investigation after a Filipino fishing boat hit by a suspected Chinese vessel sank near Reed Bank in the South China Sea’s Spratly Islands, The Washington Post reported June 12. The Philippine coast guard is reportedly looking into whether the collision was intentional and whether Chinese fishermen were involved.  Why It Matters: When the South China Sea fishing season peaks from April to August, the risk of encounters between Philippine…

PH interested in buying unmanned surveillance drones from US » Manila Bulletin News

Published June 9, 2019, 5:07 PM By Aaron Recuenco The Department of National Defense (DND) is eyeing the purchase of unmanned surveillance drones and other weapons after President Duterte announced that he will consider buying military hardware from the United States. DND Public Affairs Chief Arsenio Andolong (AP / MANILA BULLETIN) DND spokesman Arsenio Andolong said that the department was actually planning to take advantage of the announcement of US President Donald Trump of selling at least 34 Boeing-made ScanEagle drones to allies in South China Sea region amid the…

PH approves of US presence in South China Sea if only to keep peace in the area » Manila Bulletin News

Published June 4, 2019, 5:21 PM By Genalyn Kabiling  The Philippine government is amenable to any presence of the United States in the South China Sea if it could help keep peace and stability in the disputed territory. Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo(OPS / MANILA BULLETIN) Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo said the country wants “peace and quiet” in the region while its supports freedom of navigation in the waterway. “The Philippines’ position is that every country has the right to use the waters in the South China Sea as well as…

Despite Chinese opposition, US to continue with conduct of freedom of navigation operations » Manila Bulletin News

Published May 16, 2019, 9:41 PM By Roy Mabasa A top-ranking United States naval officer on Thursday assured that the US will be “consistent” in its presence in the South China Sea despite Beijing’s opposition to its conduct of freedom of navigation operations (FONOPs) in the area where a third of the world’s trade passes through. “We have a tremendous amount of national interest. About a third of the world’s trade flows through the South China Sea. The United States is a maritime nation. We have a great national interest…

Manila has friends other than Beijing

THE TOKYO trip of President Duterte might just show him the wisdom of one’s not placing all his century eggs in one Chinese basket, and impress on him the fact that the Philippines still has friends other than China. For one, Japan has been there since the end of the harrowing Pacific war – making reparations and helping the Philippines rise from the rubble without tricking it into a debt trap or invoking dubious old maps to grab features in its maritime territory. Since China’s paramount leader Xi Jinping told…

Manila protests ‘swarming’ Chinese boats near island

MANILA, Philippines — The Philippines has protested the presence of more than 200 Chinese vessels that were sighted from January to March near a Philippine-occupied island in the disputed South China Sea, officials said Monday. Presidential spokesman Salvador Panelo said the Department of Foreign Affairs lodged the protest after the military monitored about 275 Chinese vessels near Thitu island, which is called Pag-asa by Filipinos, in the Spratlys, the most hotly contested region in the busy waterway. A regional military spokesman, Capt. Jason Ramon, said the number of spotted Chinese…

Pompeo confident military conflict with China can be avoided   » Manila Bulletin News

Published May 27, 2019, 4:02 PM By Roy Mabasa The United States is confident that the risk and concerns of a possible military conflict brought about by Beijing’s island-building activity in the South China Sea can be avoided as Washington becomes more “engaged” and “active” in the region. US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo(AFP / MANILA BULLETIN) US State Secretary Michael Pompeo made this statement during an interview with San Diego-based One America News (OAN) network last week. An official transcript of which was posted on the State Department’s website.…

Chinese clam fleets return to South China Sea; swaths of coral reefs destroyed » Manila Bulletin News

Published May 21, 2019, 9:52 PM By Roy Mabasa Chinese clam harvesting fleets have returned to the South China Sea in force over the last six months, destroying vast swaths of coral reef in order to extract the endangered giant clams, the Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative (AMTI) said in a report published on Monday. The AMTI report said the Chinese fleets, which typically include dozens of small fishing vessels accompanied by a handful of larger “motherships,” are back after a sharp drop in activity from 2016 to late 2018. The…