U.S. war jets frequently seen flying near Scarborough Shoal

July 27, 2016 at 5:39 pm Leave a comment


By Mortz C. Ortigoza
INFANTA – United States war jets have been seen making regular flyby in this coastal town, according to a village official of Barangay Cato here.
WARTHOGS. The five A-10 Thunderbolt attack aircraft left by
the Americans after the April 2016’s Balikatan (Military Exercise).

 

Jowe Legaspi, a village councilor, said every week he sees American jets flying low and  proceed to the Scarborough Shoal.
Legaspi was one of the 16 Infanta fishermen who asked the United Nations’ Commissioner for Human Rights last September 2015 to direct China to respect their rights to their traditional fishing grounds at the Scarborough or Panatag Shoal in the West Philippine Sea.
He said a personnel of the Chinese Coast Guard barred him and fellow fishermen to fish at the Scarborough Shoal which is 260 kilometers from the town.
The jets Legaspi has been seeing with regularity here are probably the five A-10 Thunderbolt attack aircraft left by the Americans after the April 2016’s Balikatan (Military Exercise).
The twin engine- A-10s flew over the shoal in April 19 to send a message to China that the area was for free aerial and maritime navigations.
The U.S. used the airports at Subic, 204 kilometers from here, and the one at Clark Field in the nearby Pampanga province.
The Americans left Subic, Clark, and other U.S. Bases in the Philippines after the Philippine Senate did not ratify in 1991 the treaty extending their stay in the country.
The Chinese took the shoal in 2012 claiming it is a part of its  Nine-Dash Doctrine. But the Philippine government filed a case at the U.N. Arbitral Tribunal in The Hague in early of 2013 questioning the claim.
The Tribunal ruled in favor of the Philippines in July 12 this year.

Legaspi, in his middle of 40s, recalled that when he was a kid he and his older brother would fish near the firing range of the Americans in the shoal.
“Pag nandiyan na iyang eroplano aalis na kami, lilipad ng mababa sa amin na nag wawarning na alis na kami sa Karboro,” he chuckled.
The mostly Visayan speaking fishermen, from this town, Sta. Cruz, Masinloc, and Subic, Zambales who fish at Scarborough call the Shoal as “Karboro.”
The U.S. Navy used Bajo de Masinloc, another name of the shoal, as an impact or bombing range. The concrete slabs were needed as “sinkers” to keep the balance of the old decrepit ships which were placed in the shoal for the U.S. Navy’s shooting and bombing runs.
“Pakpak niya, parang twin bodies,” Legaspi described the plane which could be the turbo powered OV-10 Bronco manufactured by North American Rockwell.
 Efren Corones,  54, a fisherman from Masinloc, Zambales, lamented how the Filipino fishermen here were being jeered by Vietnamese fishermen whenever they cross paths at the rich fishing ground there.
“Sumisigaw sila na Filipinos money, money. Tapos mag sesenyas sila ng pera na letter “O” sa mga kamay nila.”
He explained that when the Americans left their bases in the Philippines, the Vietnamese fishermen, in cahoots with the personnel of the Philippine Navy that supervised the area, ‘cannibalized” all the parts of the decrepit ships and sold the irons and steel to Vietnam.
Over the years the derelicts, from the time the Americans left their bases in the country, became the subject of “salvage operations by local salvors also known askumbatseros.

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