National Security Adviser Clarita Carlos has ordered an investigation into the Pag-asa Island incident Sunday morning between Philippine Navy and Chinese Coast Guard and the explosions heard by residents in the disputed West Philippine Sea.
Republicasia sought the comment of Carlos, who also heads the National Task Force for the West Philippine Sea, following reports from Pag-asa residents that series of loud explosions were heard near the island. This happened after a brief altercation between Philippine Navy and Chinese Coast Guard over the retrieval of a rocket debris.
“Still investigating, Kasi Iba yung istorya na nakukuha ko,” Carlos said.
Foreign Affairs spokesperson Ma. Teresita Daza said a “thorough review” will be made on this incident, which incidentally happened hours before the visit of US Vice President Kamala Harris to Manila.
Harris arrived last night in Manila, and is expected to meet President Ferdinand Marcos and her Philippine counterpart, Vice President Sara Duterte, today. She is scheduled to fly tomorrow (November 22) to Puerto Princesa, Palawan.
“The DFA is aware of the incident and awaits the detailed reports from maritime law enforcement agencies. A thorough review will be conducted,” Daza said.
Republicasia sources said Pag-asa Island residents were jolted to hear series of explosions near the island Sunday morning.
A report from the PNP Kalayaan Island Group municipality quoted the Navy as saying that “artillery/weapons” bombardment came from China-controlled Zamora (Subi) Reef, near Pag-asa.
The explosions happened a few hours after the Philippine Navy retrieved a rocket debris off the coast of Pag-asa Island.
While towing the rocket debris, a group of Chinese Coast Guard intercepted the Navy boat and cut the rope, disentangling it from the Philippine Navy boat. The Chinese Navy was able to retrieve the rocket, leaving the Philippine Navy behind.
Republicasia is awaiting for comments from the Chinese Embassy in Manila.
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Photo courtesy: CSIS/AMTI