Huwebes, Hulyo 21, 2016

U.S War Jets Frequent Fly-By near Scarborough

By Mortz C. Ortigoza

INFANTA, Pangasinan – United States war jets have been seen making regular flyby in this coastal town, according to a village official of Barangay Cato here.
Jowe Legaspi, a village councilor, said that every week he saw thundering American jets flying low here as they proceeded to the location of Scarborough Shoal.
WARTHOGS. The five A-10 Thunderbolt attack aircraft left by
the Americans after the April 2016’s Balikatan (Military Exercise).
Legaspi was one of the 16 of this rustic town's 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 the personnel of the Chinese Coast Guard barred him and fellow fishermen to fish at the Scarborough Shoal, 260 kilometers from
The jets Legaspi has been seeing with regularity here were probably the five A-10 Thunderbolt attack aircraft left by the Americans after the April 2016’s Balikatan (Military Exercise).
The pugnacious twin engines’ A-10s passed by at 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 as part of her Nine-Dash Doctrine. But the Philippine government filed a case at the U.N Arbitral Tribunal in The Hague in early of 2013.
The Tribunal ruled in favor of the Philippines in July 12 this year.
Legaspi, in his middle of 40s, recalls the 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 Visaya speaking Fishermen, from this town, Sta. Cruz, Masinloc, and Subic, Zambales who fish at Scarborough call the Shoal for brevity 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.