MANILA, Philippines — President Benigno Aquino III has ordered the pullout of the Philippines’ two government ships from the disputed Scarborough Shoal due to bad weather, Foreign Secretary Albert del Rosario said Saturday, June 16.
Aquino made the order last night as Butchoy, now a typhoon, battered Eastern Samar and other areas. Typhoon Butchoy is expected to enhance the southwest monsoon, bringing rains to Luzon and the Visayas. (Read: PAGASA: Butchoy now a typhoon.)
The two Philippine government vessels — one from the Philippine Coast Guard and another from the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources — have been in Scarborough Shoal for most of the time since a standoff between the two countries began in April.
It is uncertain, however, whether the pullout of the vessels will be permanent. “When weather improves, a reevaluation will be made,” Del Rosario said.
On Friday, June 15, Del Rosario also said China promised to pull out its vessels from the lagoon in Scarborough Shoal “a couple of days ago,” according to a report on the Philippine Daily Inquirer.
“The Chinese still have vessels in the lagoon and we’re waiting for them to remove those vessels from that area,” Del Rosario said. — Rappler.com