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Troops monitoring JMSU through satellite TV

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Local officials backing agreement

By Joel Guinto
First Posted 08:45am (Mla time) 03/25/2008

PAG-ASA ISLAND, Spratlys – Troops in this disputed island chain in the South China Sea are aware of allegations that the government has softened on its claim to reportedly oil-rich islands, but they have not let the controversy affect their work, their commander said.

“It is beyond us. We’re just here to do our mission,” said Navy Lieutenant Junior Grade Noel Cadigal, the detachment commander in this island, the largest of the eight islands occupied by the military, and where majority of the 60 troops deployed to the Spratlys are stationed.


Cadigal said troops were monitoring the controversial Joint Marine Seismic Undertaking (JMSU) of the Philippines, China, and Vietnam through satellite television.

“They are talking about that in the military leadership, they are more knowledgeable of the JMSU than us,” Cadigal told reporters here, adding, “We’re just here for our mission.”

The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) Chief of Staff, General Hermogenes Esperon Jr., visited Pag-asa Island late Monday afternoon and brought a satellite communications system and several food supplies.

Asked what his message to troops in the Spratlys was, in light of the JMSU controversy, Esperon said: “Ours is to defend territorial integrity. Your soldiers here, no matter how few we are, no matter how incomplete our equipment are, we will do our job with what we have.”

“I came here to see to it that those things are functioning and the boys of Lieutenant Cadigal are doing their job,” he said in a separate interview.

Opposition lawmakers are seeking an investigation into allegations that with the JMSU, the Philippines softened its claim on the Spratlys, in favor of China, in exchange for a multi-million-dollar loan package.

Aside from the Philippines, Vietnam, and China, the Spratlys are also being claimed in part or in whole by Malaysia, Brunei, and Taiwan.

The first phase of the JMSU will end by the middle of the year and the Department of Energy is studying whether or not the country would renew the agreement for its second phase.

Local officials meanwhile expressed support for the JMSU.

“I welcome that move, that we should have the JMSU, why? Because I see that this will open the gates for us to really know the resources we have here,” said Kalayaan town mayor Rosendo Mantes.

“We are in full support of the endeavors and programs of the municipal government, in fact I think that is an advantage that we should really exploit,” said acting Palawan governor David Ponce de Leon.

Mantes and De Leon accompanied Esperon in his visit to Pag-asa island.

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Written by joelguinto

WedUTC2008-03-26T06:01:02+00:00UTC03bUTCWed, 26 Mar 2008 06:01:02 +0000 22, 2006 at 12:45 am03

Posted in Uncategorized

3 Responses

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    FriUTC2009-10-23T10:36:11+00:00UTC10bUTCFri, 23 Oct 2009 10:36:11 +0000 22, 2006 at 12:45 am10

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    SatUTC2010-06-26T03:38:08+00:00UTC06bUTCSat, 26 Jun 2010 03:38:08 +0000 22, 2006 at 12:45 am06

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    SatUTC2010-06-26T03:42:18+00:00UTC06bUTCSat, 26 Jun 2010 03:42:18 +0000 22, 2006 at 12:45 am06

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