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PHL seeking clarification from China over construction plan on Panatag

GMA News Online logo GMA News Online 3/19/2017 Merueñas, Mark
Boats at Scarborough Shoal in the South China Sea are seen in this handout photo provided by Planet Labs, and captured on March 12, 2016. The head of US naval operations, Admiral John Richardson said the US military had seen Chinese activity around Scarborough Shoal in the northern part of the Spratly archipelago, about 125 miles (200 km) west of the Philippine base of Subic Bay. Reuters/Planet Labs © Reuters/Planet Labs Boats at Scarborough Shoal in the South China Sea are seen in this handout photo provided by Planet Labs, and captured on March 12, 2016. The head of US naval operations, Admiral John Richardson said the US military had seen Chinese activity around Scarborough Shoal in the northern part of the Spratly archipelago, about 125 miles (200 km) west of the Philippine base of Subic Bay. Reuters/Planet Labs

Malacañang on Saturday said it was still validating reports about China's construction plans on the disputed Panatag (Scarborough) Shoal.

"We are seeking information from Chinese authorities to clarify the accuracy of the report," said Presidential Spokesperson Ernesto Abella.

A Chinese mayor in charge of Sansha City, an administrative base for the South China Sea islands and reefs it controls, said China would begin preparatory work this year for an environmental monitoring station on Panatag Shoal.

He said the monitoring stations form part of island restoration and erosion prevention efforts planned for 2017.

Just last month, Foreign Affairs Secretary Perfecto Yasay Jr. said China has promised the Philippine government that it would not build structures on the shoal. 

Panatag Shoal is a resource-rich rocky outcrop 124 nautical miles off Palawan’s northwestern coast.

China claims most of the energy-rich South China Sea. The Philippines, Brunei, Malaysia, Taiwan and Vietnam also have claims. — Jessica Bartolome/MDM, GMA News

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