MANILA, Philippines - President Aquino said the Philippines will maintain its presence in Scarborough shoal as a way to assert its sovereignty. He said a Coast Guard vessel, at a minimum, will remain in the shoal, as a way of “showing the [Philippine] flag” in the area.
He added that a vessel of the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources will also stay in the area.
“We’re still maintaining our presence,” Aquino told reporters.
Aquino said China’s naval exercises with Russia has no bearing on the situation at the Scarborough shoal but added that there is a need to settle the dispute through international arbitration bodies.
“The Russian exercise does not really have anymore bearing than what is already there. By themselves (China) napalaki na nila e. So does it add? No. But it does reaffirm that there is need to go through the various international bodies to settle the dispute. ‘Yung dispute has to be settled. It can’t be left hanging forever after,” Aquino said.
Showing reporters a map, Aquino reiterated the Philippines’ concern over China’s nine-dash line that claims the entire South China Sea as theirs.
“Look at what they are claiming. How can the others not be fearful of what is transpiring? Will this become an exclusive lane?” Aquino said.