‘That is a possibility’: DFA on China’s prior info on PH missions in WPS
MANILA, Philippines — One of the country’s defense officials tells Senate it is possible that China has prior information whenever Philippine vessels sail for resupply missions to Philippine outposts in West Philippine Sea.
In a Senate hearing on Wednesday, Senator Risa Hontiveros prodded Defense Undersecretary Irineo Espino if there is truth to stories that China has informants operating in the Philippines.
This alleged situation enables Chinese government to intercept the resupply trips of PH boats in WPS.
According to Hontiveros, she first heard this report from Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) Spokesperson Commodore Jay Tarriela.
Tarriela had earlier said China “may have advanced knowledge of Philippine resupply missions.”
“That is a possibility,” Espino acknowledged during the Senate hearing on Wednesday.
“But of course, we are always thinking that there are already informants in the areas where we load our supplies before the operations are conducted,” he admitted.
“So they are already getting inputs and information,” Espino told the senator.
Hontiveros also asked if China’s recent water cannon attack against Philippine vessels in Ayungin Shoal may already be considered a “blockade.”
To this question, Espino answered yes.
“[There’s a] daily presence of about 80 to 200 militia ships and China Coast Guard presence in the area,” Espino also testified during the hearing.
“So even if we escort our private vessel supplying the necessary requirements of Ayungin, we could hardly counter the number of vessels from China,” he confessed.