Meanwhile, two small Chinese fishing boats were sighted inside the shoal and three others were outside. Fisheries Law Enforcement Command vessel 310, a Chinese fishing gunboat, was located eight nautical miles southeast of the shoal, and the Chinese maritime surveillance ship CMS 71 was within 12 nautical miles also southeast of the shoal, said Alcantara.
China's most advanced fishery patrol ship, Yuzheng 310, remained in Scarborough Shoal as of 2 p.m. Tuesday, April 24, said Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) spokesperson Raul Hernandez in a text message, citing reports from the Philippine Coast Guard.
Chinese maritime surveillance ship no. 71, Hernandez said, also stayed in Scarborough Shoal despite China's earlier claim only one Chinese vessel remained in the area.
'Chinese ships barring Pinoy fishermen from entering Panatag' By Jaime Laude (The Philippine Star) Updated May 08, 2012 04:51 PM MANILA, Philippines - Chinese maritime vessels are now preventing Filipino fishermen from entering the lagoon of Panatag Shoal, which the Philippines claims as part of its territory.
“Our fishermen who returned to the area were barred from entering the lagoon to fish by Chinese maritime vessels," Masinloc town Mayor Desitree Edora said, adding that the Chinese maritime vessels are using floodlights to drive away Filipino fishermen.
Edora’s secretary, RJ Bautista, speaking on behalf of the mayor, complained that while Filipinos are being barred from fishing in the lagoon, the Chinese maritime vessels are allowing Chinese fishermen to sail and fish inside the lagoon./ R3 7 G0 v' E
Fearing for their safety, the Filipinos are now fishing outside the lagoon.
“Nasa labas na lamang sila nangingisda dahil pinagbawalan na silang pumasok ng mga Chinese sa loob ng lagoon,” Bautista said.
The last presence of the Filipino fishermen inside the rich fishing ground after decades of fishing in the area was last April 15, as the standoff that started last April 10, continue to heat up
Bautista said local fishermen returned to the area to fish last Sunday after getting clearance from the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG), who assured them of protection.
“Iniilawan sila ng mga powerful floodlights ng Chinese vessels doon sa mouth ng lagoon, kaya natatakot silang pumasok,” Bautista said. As of Sunday, military monitoring of the area showed that there are already seven Chinese fishing vessels and 23 utility boats conducting destructive fishing activities inside the lagoon.
Outside, two Chinese Maritime Surveillance ships (CMS) 75 and CMS 81 are guarding the mouth of the lagoon with their FLEC 310 (Fisheries Law Enforcement Command) ship pre-positioned not far away. The Philippines, on the other hand, maintaining that the area is within the country’s territorial domain, has deployed two vessels in the area -- the BRP EDSA 2 of the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) and the Maritime Control Ship 3001 (MCS-3001) of the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR).
Maintaining a non-confrontational stance, the military leadership in Northern Luzon said it could not comment on the issue because they don’t have any information yet on the matter.!
The Armed Forces' NOrthern Luzon Command (Nolcom), under Lt. Gen. Anthony Alcantara, has operational jurisdiction over Panatag Shoal.
“As to that report, we have no information on that, so we cannot comment on it,” Capt. Aurelio Kigis, Nolcom spokesman, said.