5 Chinese ships spotted near Pag-asa sandbars

Cayetano's modus vivendi with China

Lorenzana told the committee that troops are ready to defend the country's territory in any event of attack.

"It would be a very serious thing if the Chinese will occupy any of the islands, kahit 'yung mga islands na malalayo (even the islands that are far away)... That would be a very serious issue," Lorenzana said.

Alejano said he is worried that China will use "maritime militias" – civilian fishermen – to attack Pag-asa Island.

"They are civilian fishermen using smaller boats but were enlisted by Chinese militaryto achieve their objectives like blocking, ramming, and harassing our fishermen and government vessels," said Alejano. 

Lorenzana said he is counting on China not to occupy more territories in the West Philippine Sea, based on a "modus vivendi" that he said was brokered by Philippine Foreign Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano.

"There is  status quo now that is happening in the South China Sea brokered by the Secretary of Foreign Affairs. According to him, the Chinese will [neither] occupy new features in the South China Sea nor are they going to build structures in Scarborough Shoal," Lorenzana told the committee.

Lorenzana visited Pag-asa in April after President Rodrigo Duterte canceled plans to plant the Philippine flag there. 

The government allocated P1.6 billion ($32 million) to repair facilities there including the dilapidated runway. – Rappler.com