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Military working to validate report of 220 Chinese vessels moored at Whitsun Reef

The Philippine military on Sunday said it deployed its air and navy assets to validate the report that around 220 Chinese vessels anchored at the Julian Felipe Reef (Whitsun Reef).

"The AFP’s Western Command has  dispatched Air Force and Navy assets to conduct air and maritime sovereignty patrols to further validate the report," Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) spokesperson Major General Edgard Arevalo said in a statement.

"Appropriate reports were made and forwarded to other agencies of government through the General Headquarters of such monitored numbers of CMM. These reports are made bases of filing appropriate actions not limited to filing diplomatic protests," he added.

He was reacting to an earlier statement of the National Task Force for the West Philippine Sea which said the discovery of the ships believed to be manned by Chinese maritime militia is a "circumstance as a concern" as this might lead to possible overfishing and destruction of marine environment.

However, there were no fishing activities at the time the Chinese vessels were spotted last March 7.  — Consuelo Marquez/BM, GMA News