DND refutes reports on Chinese research vessel near Zambales

Robie de Guzman   •   August 13, 2021   •   527

 

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of National Defense (DND) on Friday refuted earlier reports that a Chinese vessel has been spotted near the disputed Scarborough Shoal (also called Bajo de Masinloc) in the West Philippine Sea.

In a statement, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said the alleged Chinese research ship did not pass through nor enter the country’s area of responsibility.

“Contrary to some published reports regarding the Chinese Research Vessel Hai Da Hao, the AFP Northern Luzon Command has reported that the said vessel has not been spotted near Bajo de Masinloc as alleged,” he said.

“Based on the verification of the one-year historical track of CRV Hai Da Hao, the vessel did not pass through nor did it enter the area of responsibility of Naval Forces Northern Luzon,” he added.

Lorenzana noted that the said ship is currently monitored at 30 nautical miles south of Huidong Xian, Huizhou Shi in China.

The DND chief issued the statement following claims on social media about the alleged presence of a Chinese research ship near the shoal in Zambales.

The report prompted the department to conduct verification on the matter.

Chinese and other foreign vessels have previously been spotted in contested areas in the West Philippine Sea.

The Philippine government has repeatedly filed diplomatic protests on the presence of Chinese ships in Philippine waters.

Warning signals lifted as Tropical Storm Jolina moves towards the West Philippine Sea

Marje Pelayo   •   September 9, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) has lifted all wind signals across the country as Tropical Storm Jolina moves towards the West Philippine Sea.

As of 11:00 a.m. Thursday (September 9), the center of TS Jolina was estimated at 240 km West of Dagupan City, Pangasinan, packed with maximum sustained winds of 85 km/h and gustiness of up to 115 km/h.

It is moving westward at 10 km/h.

PAGASA forecasts that in the next 24 hours, light to moderate with at times heavy rains may be experienced over Palawan, Western Visayas, and Zamboanga Peninsula.

Under these conditions, isolated to widely scattered flooding and rain-induced landslides are still possible especially in areas that are highly or very highly susceptible to these hazards.

Meanwhile, moderate to strong winds associated with the enhanced southwest monsoon will be experienced over the western section of Luzon.

Based on PAGASA’s forecast track, ‘Jolina’ will move generally west northwestward today over the West Philippine Sea and exit the Philippine Area of Responsibility (PAR) tonight.

However, the tropical storm is seen to re-intensify and may reach a severe tropical storm category within the day, PAGASA said.

Furthermore, the storm may reach typhoon category tomorrow (September 10).

4 big-time drug traffickers killed in Zambales sting, P3.4B shabu seized

Aileen Cerrudo   •   September 7, 2021

MANILA, Philippines—Four Chinese drug traffickers were killed in an anti-illegal drug operations in Zambales, the Philippine National Police (PNP) reported.

On Tuesday (September 7), the government’s intelligence and anti-narcotics operatives led by the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) seized some P3.4 billion worth of methamphetamine in Candelaria, Zambales.

The PNP said the four drug traffickers engaged the government operatives in a gun battle in a failed attempt to escape.

The Chinese nationals were identified as Gao Manzhu, 49; Hong Jianshe, 58; Eddie Tan, 60; all from Fujian, China; and, Xu Youha,50, from Quezon City. Seized from them were 500 kilograms of shabu with an estimated standard price of P3.4 billion. The confiscated shabu was the biggest drug haul for this year so far.

On Tuesday, government anti-narcotics operatives were able to negotiate for the purchase of a kilo of shabu from the group of Xu which resulted in the operation that eventually led to his death and of his three other companions.

PNP Chief Police General Guillermo Eleazar said the individuals were known distributors of illegal drugs in Luzon, particularly in Metro Manila, Central Luzon and Region 4.

Xu, alias Taba, was tagged as one of the key players of illegal drugs activities in the country and according to PDEA Deputy Director General for Operations Gregorio Pimentel, he was last monitored talking to a contact abroad.

Meanwhile, a hot pursuit operation has been set up to capture more members of the syndicate. Eleazar said, he had already deployed helicopters and speedboats of the PNP to assist in the conduct of pursuit operation against the vessel which transported the confiscated illegal drugs to the coastal waters of Zambales.

“This operation was a result of the whole-of-government approach in our campaign against illegal drugs. Our coordination and cooperation with other government agencies, particularly with the PDEA, is now stronger than before so we are confident that this will be our strong point in our successful campaign to put an end to the threats of illegal drugs in the country,” he said. AAC

DND verifying report on alleged presence of a Chinese ship off Zambales

Robie de Guzman   •   August 12, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of National Defense (DND) on Thursday said it is verifying reports on the alleged presence of a Chinese research ship that was spotted near Panatag Shoal in the West Philippine Sea.

In a statement, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said facts gathered by the maritime patrols in the area will be basis of their next course of action.

“Rest assured that the AFP, through the Northern Luzon Command, undertakes regular domain awareness operations and provides all the necessary support to the Philippine Coast Guard and other agencies to secure and implement our laws in our territorial waters and the EEZ,” he said.

Chinese and other foreign vessels have previously been spotted in contested areas in the West Philippine Sea.

The Philippine government has repeatedly filed diplomatic protests on the presence of Chinese ships in Philippine waters.

 

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