By Genalyn Kabiling
The government does not see any problem with China when authorities try to retrieve the Philippine Navy frigate that ran aground on a shoal in the disputed South China Sea.
“I understand that efforts are being undertaken to retrieve the grounded Del Pilar…It’s ongoing, with no problems from China,” Presidential Spokesman Harry Roque said during a Palace press briefing.
On concerns China might not allow Philippine personnel to retrieve the vessel, Roque said: “Let’s not speculate.”
The BRP Gregorio del Pilar was reportedly on a routine patrol mission when it became stuck on the Hasa-Hasa or Half Moon Shoal on Wednesday night. No one was reportedly hurt during the incident on the shoal located within the country’s 200-mile exclusive economic zone.
The government has reportedly launched operations to retrieve the vessel and help the Navy crew.
Roque noted that the Navy frigate was the same ship sent by then President Aquino to Scarborough Shoal that triggered the conflict in the area.
He said the ship deployment “led the Chinese to send multiple Coast Guard vessels to the area, leading to our exclusion from Scarborough Shoal.”