Coast Guard to keep eye out for Vietnam boat in Tubbataha
MANILA, Philippines—The Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) on Wednesday said it would intensify its monitoring of foreign-flagged vessels in the Tubbataha Reef area following reports a Vietnamese boat was spotted there over the weekend.
But PCG commandant Rear Adm. Rodolfo Isorena admitted they had yet to confirm the report.
“We have to verify it. We have to find out why they were there because it could have been an innocent passage or maybe the vessel encountered a mechanical problem and was in distress. (But) if they had no reason to be there, then they could be apprehended,” said Isorena in a press briefing on the sidelines of a troop and equipment inspection at Coast Guard headquarters on Tuesday.
PCG spokesperson Commander Armand Balilo said it was Tubbataha Park Superintendent Angelique Songco who relayed the information about the Vietnamese boat to the Coast Guard.
“So far we are just monitoring. There is no instruction to deploy. There should be guidance from Malacañang and the Department of Foreign Affairs,” Balilo said.—Tina G. Santos
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