MANILA (Philippine Daily Inquirer / Asia News Network): The Philippines is now prepared for a “water war” in the West Philippine Sea as the country’s coast guard plans to use “white-white diplomacy” in the disputed territory.
“To avoid the water cannon incident, Coast Guard ships will resupply Marines assigned to Ayungin [Shoal] in. sir in Sierra Madre, âPhilippine Coast Guard (PCG) Vice Admiral Oscar Endona Jr. said Tuesday during a Senate hearing.
âWe are not going to use civilian ships to resupply our marine troops in Ayungin, so we will already be using the white ships,â Endona added.
The PCG official made the remarks when Senator Richard Gordon asked how the Philippines would react if China sent an amphibious ship and occupied part of Palawan.
On November 16, Chinese Coast Guard ships blocked and water cannon Philippine supply ships during a BRP Sierra Madre resupply mission to Ayungin Shoal in the West Philippine Sea.
“We will use white-white diplomacy,” Endona continued, referring to the Philippine Coast Guard ships. âIn fact, our white ships also have water. “
âWater war? Gordon joked, to which the PCG official said yes.
Prior to Gordon, Senator Panfilo Lacson also asked how the PCG would react to a possible attack on Pagasa Island.
“How capable are we and how well prepared are we to at least defend, set up a decent defense of the island of Pagasa?” Lacson further asked.
Endona admitted that the closest available coastguard vessel is based in El Nido and it would take them overnight to reach the island.
Defense of the country’s territory, he said, would then fall to the Philippine Navy, as the PCG could only provide assistance such as personnel transport.
When Lacson asked if there was a regular patrol on Pagasa Island, Endona explained that small vessels could not be at sea all year round due to sea conditions.
However, he stressed that regular patrols would be possible with the arrival of new ships from Japan next year as they could stay at sea for more than 30 days.