The former captain of the Philippine marines, who was set to sail Friday to Scarborough Shoal, has decided to postpone his trip after Philippine President Aquino requested him to call off the trip in deference to ongoing diplomatic talks with China
Nicanor Faeldon, the ex-Philippine marines captain, who was ready to depart with his group for a trip to Scarborough Shoal, said a last minute call from president Aquino prevented his group from departing for the disputed territory.
"I received a call from the president requesting the postponement of this voyage.... I consulted the group and we agreed to concur with the wisdom of the government to postpone it," Faeldon told GMA News.
The Scarborough Shoal which is located about 250 kilometers away from the town of Masinloc in northern Philippines and believed to be sitting on vast oil and gas deposits, is being claimed by China as part of its territory while the Philippines maintains that the Shoal is an integral part of its sea lanes as it is within its 200-nautical-mile exclusive economic zone.
Kit Guerrero, the spokesman of Faeldon said the group was scheduled to arrive at the Shoal Friday to protest against Chinese aggression against the Philippines.
In early April this year, Chinese fishermen were caught by Philippine Coast Guard with boatload of illegally obtained endangered sea species but they were prevented by Chinese naval crew from arresting the Chinese fishermen.
The incident triggered a series of diplomatic confrontations and the dispatching of naval ships by both countries to the area.China and the Philippines have several naval vessels in the area and the situation has remained tense despite efforts to calm down the restive citizens of both countries.
Both countries have imposed a ban on fishing in the disputed territory since Wednesday which was regarded in the diplomatic circle as a face-saving way for both countries to pull out their ships in the shoal while a more lasting solution is reached.
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The leader of the failed voyage said the president told him there are people in the diplomatic agency of government who are now in China for talks on the issue.
Faeldon was granted amnesty last year after serving detention for a failed coup attempt. While in active service in the military establishment, Faeldon has called for reforms in government and greater accountability in the military.