Security execs awaiting Rody decision on Panatag
Jaime Laude (The Philippine Star) - October 20, 2016 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines – Security officials would rather wait for clearer directions from President Duterte before taking action with regard to reports on China’s plan to give Filipino fishermen access to Panatag (Scarborough) Shoal.

“It’s still incomplete as reported in the news. We know there are certain conditions. And let us allow the President to report that (to the public) before you ask for our comment,” one of the security officials, who asked not to be named, said.

Reuters, quoting well-placed Chinese sources, said China is considering giving Filipino fishermen “conditional” access to Panatag Shoal off Zambales as Duterte embarks on a state visit to Beijing until Friday.

Located 124 nautical miles from Zambales, Panatag Shoal had been a traditional fishing ground for Filipinos for decades until 2012 when the Chinese – after a standoff with the Philippine Navy – closed the area to Filipinos and declared it as its own. The Chinese have never left the shoal since then.

The incident prompted the Philippines to seek international arbitration on its maritime entitlements.

In July, the Permanent Court of Arbitration invalidated China’s nine-dash-line claim over nearly the entire South China Sea and declared Panatag a common fish ground.

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