MANILA - Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin said the government will take a calibrated approach in the Scarborough Shoal via a “white on white response.”
If the Chinese Coast Guard continues to harass Filipino fishermen, then "our response should be calibrated where we will have the Philippine Coast Guard (sail) so as to maintain White on White response and not heighten the tension,” he said.
White is the color of civilian law enforcement ships.
The Armed Forces earlier said the incident last January 27 at the disputed shoal does not merit a military response. Sending Navy ships would just heighten the tension there, it said.
Philippine Coast Guard commandant Vice Admiral Rodolfo Isorena earlier said the country’s Coast Guard ships will proceed there if given the green light.
Gazmin said the issue could best be resolved via a diplomatic protest.
He said the government will still continue to pursue peaceful means.
China gained control of the shoal following a standoff in April 2012.
Two Philippine Coast Guard ships then left in July 2012 because of inclement weather.
China, however, remained in control of the shoal.