US, PH forces off Panatag Shoal

‘War games not meant to intimidate China’


The guided-missile destroyer USS Fitzgerald is scheduled to sail into Subic Bay on Thursday to participate in the Philippines-United States naval exercise amid tensions in the West Philippine Sea. The annual Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training (Carat) war games involve a series of bilateral naval exercises between the US Navy and the militaries of Bangladesh, Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Timor Leste. PHOTO COURTESY OF U.S. EMBASSY

The Philippine Navy’s flagship, the BRP Gregorio del Pilar, is back in the waters near Panatag Shoal (Scarborough Shoal), this time not for a face-off with Chinese warships over disputed territory in the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea) but for five days of joint maneuvers with the United States Navy.

The Philippines’ first warship will be participating in war games with a fleet of American naval vessels led by the guided-missile destroyer USS Fitzgerald.

Panatag Shoal is a reef in the Philippine Sea claimed by both the Philippines and China and was the site of a maritime standoff between the two countries that lasted more than two months last year.

Far from Panatag

But the war games will take place 108 kilometers away from the disputed shoal, Lt. Cmdr. Gregory Fabic, spokesman for the Philippine Navy, said last week.

With the joint maneuvers playing out that far from the shoal, reportedly still guarded by three Chinese coastal patrol vessels, the Philippines and the United States do not expect China to view the exercises as “intimidation,” Fabic said.

The war games, called Exercise Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training (Carat) 2013, begin Thursday and will run up to July 2.

Fabic said holding Carat near Panatag Shoal and other areas off northern Luzon had been planned long before the standoff with China at the reef last year.

The Naval Forces Northern Luzon is the primary Philippine Navy unit responsible for the exercise.

“The Carat 2013 major objectives are to enhance the current Philippine Navy and US capabilities in naval operations … such as communication, naval gunnery, at-sea operations, maritime interdiction and humanitarian assistance and disaster response operations and  increase the level of interoperability between the Philippine Navy and the US Navy in the conduct of combined naval operations,” a statement from the Naval Forces Northern Luzon said Wednesday.

It said the exercises would include in-port and at-sea events, individual and unit training, and engagement with the local community, among other activities.

Aside from BRP Gregorio del Pilar (PF-15), a PN Aircraft (Islander), Special Boat Team, Diving Team of Naval Special Operations Group (NAVSOG), Construction Team from the Naval Engineers and Philippine Marine Corps company will participate in the military exercises “to test their readiness and capability,” the Navy said.

It added that the Philippine Coast Guard would have one of its flagships, the BRP Edsa, joining the war games, as well as a helicopter, its diving team, and a visit, board, search and seizure team.

Aside from the USS Fitzgerald, the US Navy will have its salvage ships, the USNS Safeguard and USNS Salvor in the waters off Zambales.

Members of the US Marine Corps and other specialized personnel will also participate in the war games.

The USS Fitzgerald was sent to the Korean Peninsula last April amid tensions between South and North Korea. It also participated in the joint military exercises between the United States and South Korea, rankling the North.

In arbitration

Technically, the Philippines and China remain in a standoff at Panatag Shoal.

Philippine ships withdrew from the shoal in mid-June last year at the height of a storm to ease tensions in the area.

But despite an agreement to withdraw, the Chinese ships never left and even cordoned off the mouth of the shoal’s lagoon to prevent the entry of fishing boats from other countries.

With nothing to match China’s military might, the Philippines took the dispute to the United Nations in January for arbitration.

The Philippines and China also have rival claims in the Spratly archipelago, a scattering of islets, reefs and atolls in the middle of the West Philippine Sea believed to be sitting atop vast deposits of oil and gas.

Brunei, Malaysia, Vietnam and Taiwan also claim parts of the Spratlys in rivalry with China, which claims nearly all of the sea as its territory.

Japan’s defense chief

China is also locked in a territorial dispute with Japan over a group of islands in the East China Sea known to the Japanese as the Senkakus but which the Chinese call Diaoyus.

Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin is meeting Thursday with Japanese Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera, who is visiting the Philippines for two days.

Whether the meeting between Gazmin and Onodera has to do with their countries’ territorial dispute with China is unclear, as there was no word about it in the advisory issued by the Department of National Defense on Wednesday.

A recent news report from Japan Times ( said that Onodera “plans to discuss with Philippine Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin the current tensions in the region and to work out a coordinated response toward China.”

But even this was unofficial, as the Japanese report quoted an unnamed government source.

From Manila, Onodera will fly to Hawaii supposedly to discuss with US officials its territorial row with China.

Wednesday’s advisory said that Onodera will arrive at the defense department at 10 a.m. and will be given arrival honors.

Limited press con

Onodera will meet with journalists after his call and lunch with Gazmin.

The advisory said Onodera would entertain “a maximum of two questions each from the Japanese media (including members of the Foreign Correspondents Association of the Philippines) and Filipino defense reporters.

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Disclaimer: The comments uploaded on this site do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of management and owner of We reserve the right to exclude comments that we deem to be inconsistent with our editorial standards.

  • Kuankimsan

    Ok sana to war games, but should be held on our territory at Panatag Shoal.

  • Mon Dragon

    We can not always put our fate on US military..The US will just leave us when they wish to anytime and we will be left with our own..Time will come that earth’s natural resources on land will be extinguished and everyone will go to the sea in pursuit of these. Maraming naka imbak na natural resources sa ilalim ng karagatan natin, kaya kailangang ma protektahan natin ang mga ito… Kailangan na natin mag aarmas at palakasin ang ating military defense and offense capability, otherwise, parang basang sisiw na naman tayo pag dating ng panahon..Let us wake up to this reality..It is a national priority..

  • manny3

    All our ships should at least be armed with anti-ship missilesl! Right now, even our flagship BRP Gregorio del Pilar is a laughing stock and does not pose as a credible threat to the Chinese Navy.. Arm it with the right people and armament.. and command respect.

  • valsore

    Why are we afraid to go to our territory?

  • kalikasanipagtanggol

    Mas malayo sa disputed area dahil baka mapagalitan sila ng china!

  • Kabayan

    anong tsup? hinalikan mo boy mo? amp bading ka pla eh

  • Jojo Griffin

    Isa lang pala Boy mo.ano ka Poor..again,check Caps lock .ayun yun tab sa kaliwa you wont miss it.unless na para kang si Spiderman magbasa nakabaliktad.then yun Caps lock mapupunta sa kanan..

  • Crazy_horse101010

    still taking drugs i see they arent helping you get more insane every day comrade. keyboard warrior the biggest keyboard coward who attacks women judging others. what a pitiful joke you are. still humping monkeys chino

  • fakereflection1

    then??? ganyan ka na ba tlga kabado dhil nagsisimula na kaming mag plano laban sa pag atake nyo???

  • Jojo Griffin

    Ay no seas pendeho.speaking of keyboard.nasira at Caps lock mo.o sumisigaw kalang at ikaw lang ang nakakarinig.baka naman malabo lang mata mo.kung mata mo ang may diperensiya may gamot ang hinahalo sa mga Chinese food.tawag doon Dora..Dora rat killer..

  • zymygy

    Speaking of banana,banana contains flavonoids which an antioxidant that is good for our health.that makes a person smarter.while for the kabayo,horse ,donkey etc.In the chinese zodiac,The spirit of the horse is recognized to be the
    Chinese people’s ethos – making unremitting efforts to improve themselves. It is energetic, bright, warm-hearted, intelligent and able. Ancient people liked to designate an able person as ‘Qianli Ma’, a horse that covers a thousand lia day (one li equals 500 meters).

    People born in the year of the horse have ingenious
    communicating techniques. They are clever, kind to others, and like to join in a venture career. They are cheerful, perceptive,talented, earthy but stubborn. They are popular among friends, active at work and refuse to be reconciled to failure,although their endeavor cannot last indefinitely.

  • Crazy_horse101010

    sorry cant understand your monkey gibberish try english next youve been humping to many monkeys that you talk like them. your lies are to stupid to answer anyway dumb azz

  • Jojo Griffin

    Diyan ka mabibilib sa Pinoy..Isang battleship lang pinagtatangol ang bayan.ang China nga ang daming battleships pero hanggang ngayon di pa rin masakop ang buong Western Philippine Seas.Ano bilib ka na noh..Again,check mo yun Caps lock mo.baka magalit sa iyo ang Teacher mo sa Physical education pag nakitang ganyan ka mag Type…

  • Crazy_horse101010

    to stupid to even know what a battleship is the new jersey is retired brain dead one.

  • pololoy

    hoyyyy… umuwi ka sa tsina

  • lourda

    Hehehe…cool down my friend, you’re just showing your retarded mentallity…

  • Jojo Griffin

    Ay CABRON…pati spelling mo ng CAP mali..ito gawin mo mag GOOGLE ka ..GOOGLE Mars ang gamitin mo..intiendes Amiga.

  • juan&dona

    flipnoids ka din eh

  • Jojo Griffin

    Watda..Amiga..mukhang gustong gusto mo Reply mo kaya nag Reply ka sa sarili mo.tell me pag kinakausap mo sarili mo wag mong kakalimutan sagutin ang sarili mo okay…whehehe..

  • juan&dona

    atleast proud ako to be a Filipino….eh ikaw?

  • Jojo Griffin

    So by typing in capital letters you are shouting at us…may nakakarinig ba? saan ka nakatira sa Sesame street? wag ka sisigaw at maririnig ng computer mo baka masira yan..Ay vaya con dios.

  • Crazy_horse101010

    what a idiot think we can hear you azzhole

  • Jojo Griffin

    Wehehehe..Lots of Flipnoids 5year olds can type better than you.

  • maung aye

    You are not shouting at the Filipinos, nobody hear you!
    You are only showing how dumb you are to have understood what your English teacher taught you.

  • Crazy_horse101010

    sorry im not your king. if i was you would have been long gone . so chinese kiss azz try again and quit crying its sickening.and since you lie about everything i think you have monkey genes in you mr time magazine. you have never told the truth in your life. especially about having 4 maids and a driver. baboons dont have maids or drivers. .as for disappointing anyone we know you are a lying coward. monko

  • Crazy_horse101010

    the pig is ranting again

  • Crazy_horse101010

    your the reason this country needs birth control your parents should have feed you to the pigs but instead they threw the baby away and kept the afterbirth. good thing you cant speak english just gibberish. comrade monko

  • lourda

    Hehehe….at ikaw naman ang basahan na ginagamit nila…peace…

  • kulkat8

    Sabi ng Pinoy. Sige sisantehin mo ako. Pag nagutom ang pamiliya ko. May kalalagiyan ang pamiliya mo,beho.

  • Crazy_horse101010

    more monkey gibberish just a lot of noise that means nothing more and more lies coward. the biggest braindead moron in the forums and most childish. a crying little girlie girl. go play with your dolls little one

  • zymygy

    You just make your own funeral.

  • Crazy_horse101010

    sorry cant understand your monkey chatter try english next time monko.

  • Crazy_horse101010

    guess what son there is nothing you can say or do that bothers me i know you are a little coward who wants to be grown up but cant do it because you have nothing upstairs. you do give me a good laugh at your pitiful lies and stories and i really laugh at your gibberish. keep it up you are comical.and what is really stupid is you know what i did in america but you dont know my name or where i live now that is childish. so if i did anything wrong have me deported since you hate me i told you a week ago turn me in but no one has arrived which shows you are a lliar ps im getting on your nerves or you wouldnt tell such stupid lies

  • lourda

    Ofcourse Rugs are also usefull…without rugs you can’t clean the dirt, and the Dirts are the 10 cents brigades…that’s the truth pare koy…hehehe..

  • Jojo Griffin

    Sorry amiga mas gusto ko PAKAPLOG..PAKAPLOG ng nanay mo…MILF BA NANAY mo.o DEADBEAT..alam mo naman ako magaling ako sa multi-tasking..

  • Jojo Griffin

    I believe in you Amiga.I got your back alam ko wala kang Brown AZZ monkey gene..mayroon kang REAL Monkey hindi natulungan ng mo Planet of the apes yun part 2 para mas modern.

  • ReneV

    not the afterbirth. the stain on the carpet grew up to be jseeus

  • Allen Douglas

    Nope, INTSIK KWAKANG yan…hehe

  • Crazy_horse101010


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