Plan to deploy spy planes over Panatag shoal get support-A A +A
Wednesday, July 4, 2012
SEVERAL lawmakers expressed support to President Benigno Aquino III's reported plan to ask the United States to deploy spy planes over the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea).
Aquino's suggestion aims to further monitor the Philippines' territory amid its protracted dispute with China over the Panatag (Scarborough) shoal. The US is a close military ally of the Philippines.
House Minority Leader Danilo Suarez said he "welcomes any kind of aid to ensure that our territorial boundary is protected."
"There's no problem with that move. We don't have the capability to do that anyway. We know the consequence of being a weak nation, we are always prone to abuse," Suarez said in a press briefing.
The three-month-long territorial dispute between the China and the Philippines started after Chinese vessels prevented Philippine ships from arresting Chinese fishermen near the Panatag shoal.
The Panatag shoal is located 124 nautical miles west of Zambales and is within the 200 nautical-mile Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) of the Philippines.
Anad party-list Representative Pastor Alcover Jr., another member of the House minority bloc, said he is also supportive of Aquino's proposal.
"In this kind of controversy, power should be balanced. For me, it's okay to ask for help. China will keep on bullying us if we don't do anything so I support the stand," he said.
Parañaque City Representative Roilo Golez, vice chairman of the House committee on national defense and security, said the deployment of spy planes is "very normal" under the sharing of intelligence information between allies.
"That's legitimate because the areas are part of our EEZ and territory, in the same way the Philippines can also share intelligence info in the area of international terrorism," he said in a text message. (Kathrina Alvarez/Sunnex)