No Marine deployment yet to Scarborough Shoal — Nolcom chief

Friday, February 23rd, 2018. Filed under: News

SANTA ANA, Cagayan, Feb 17 (Mabuhay) — The military will not yet deploy Marine troops to patrol and secure Scarborough (Panatag) Shoal pending “guidance” from the national government, a military official said Friday.

“Not this time. We have to settle some of other issues since that is a diplomatic issue that we have to get guidance from the national government,” said Lieutenant General Emmanuel Salamat, head of the Northern Luzon Command (Nolcom).

Salamat was responding to reporters’ inquiries at Port Irene regarding the possibility of deploying Marines to the disputed shoal.

The Marine Battalion Landing Team 8 (MBLT8), which came from the southernmost islands of Mindanao, arrived at Port Irene to augment forces in the area as part of its intensified operations against insurgent forces, including New People’s Army (NPA) rebels.

The additional forces will also conduct regular patrol in the Philippine (Benham) Rise in order to secure the country’s maritime interest, Salamat said.

“We have been doing that regularly ‘yung maritime patrol but because of the limited assets that we have now, the commitment of the national government is to really ensure that we are monitoring what is happening in our maritime waters including the Philippine rise and the Scarborough Shoal, so we will continue to perform our mandated task, that is to protect our sovereignty territory,” he said.

The Philippine government earlier protested China’s move to name five undersea features in the Philippine Rise. (MNS)

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