MANILA — After its latest reconnaissance mission to guard the disputed maritime areas, the Philippine Air Force has seen more than 10 Chinese ships in the West Philippine Sea.
Though the exact date was not confirmed, PAF Col. Florante Falcis, assistant chief of PAF’s air staff for intelligence division, said the ships were seen in the Ayungin (Second Thomas) and Panatag (Scarborough) shoals.
The official also clarified that the number of the vessels may not be exact as it varies over time.
Though there was no mention of whether the ships were naval craft or civilian vessels, he added that the ships continue its dredging activities in the West Philippine Sea.
Amid the ongoing tensions, Air Force commanding general Jeffrey Delgado assured that the PAF is ready to defend the country’s territory.
Though admitting that the PAF would not be able to match China’s forces, he said that they will continue defending the country’s claims.
“We are prepared (for)… any contingency that the government will ask us to do as far as the territorial defense is concerned even with meager resources. We are ready to confront any kind of threat should there be a need for us to be really involved but right now, we are avoiding any confrontations. We are adhering to the rule of law; we are supporting the government’s efforts in pursuing the legal complaint in the international courts,” he said.