Chinese research vessels reportedly roaming east of PH Sea

By JOVILAND RITA, GMA Integrated News

Chinese research vessels are reportedly roaming the eastern side of the Philippine Sea, National Security Council (NSC) assistant director general Jonathan Malaya said on Thursday.

"Kailangan din po nating bantayan iyong nasa eastern side, iyong ating Philippine Rise o iyong Benham Rise,” Malaya said in an interview on Dobol B TV.

(We also need to monitor the eastern side of the Philippines which is the Philippine Rise or Benham Rise.)

“Mayroon po tayong mga reports na may tinatawag na research vessels from China na umaali-aligid doon sa eastern side ng Philippine Sea area naman,” he added.

(We received reports that Chinese research vessels are roaming around the eastern side of the Philippine Sea.)

According to Malaya, a few years ago, China named some submerged features in the eastern side of the Philippines.

Under the leadership of National Security Adviser Eduardo Año, Malaya said part of the NSC’s strategy is to have a 360-degree archipelagic security for the entire country, not only the West Philippine Sea (WPS).

Malaya said the government bought research vessels for the National Academic Research Fleet (NARFleet) so Filipino scientists may also study the water resources of the Philippines.

The NARFleet is led by the UP Marine Science Institute.

The Philippines has been calling out China’s incursions in the WPS. Diplomatic protests have already been filed against China for its aggression in the area.

For 2023 alone, Manila has already filed 43 diplomatic protests


, according to the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA).

On Thursday, the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) also said there has been another "concerning resurgence" of swarming activity by Chinese fishing vessels in the WPS.

Based on air patrols on September 6 and 7, the AFP's Western Command said 23 Chinese fishing vessels were seen in Rozul (Iroquios) Reef, making it the "most prominent location" of the alleged swarming activity.

China recently released a new official “standard” map by which showed its extended claims in the SCS. 

The Philippines, through a statement by the DFA, has rejected the new map.

President Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr., meanwhile, said that the Philippines would respond to China's 10-dash line claim.

The President, however, did not specify how the Philippine government would act on this recent act by the Asian Superpower.

"We received the news that now the nine-dash line has been extended to the ten-dash line so these are... we have to respond to all of these and we will. But again, these are operational details that I would prefer not to talk about," Marcos said.

In July 2016, the UN Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague, based on a case filed by Manila, junked China's nine-dash line claim covering the entire SCS.

Beijing has refused to acknowledge the ruling. —VAL, GMA Integrated News