There was an idea to send naval force to Scarborough in 2016

National Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana has revealed that he talked to the Philippine Navy regarding the possibility of sending a small force to Scarborough Shoal after a favorable 2016 award from the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA). But the idea did not come to fruition.

Secretary Lorenzana said the serving United States Defense Secretary two weeks before the ruling was released called him.

“He said: The ruling will come out soon, and we think it is in your favor. So I talked to the Philippine Navy – if we can field a small force in Scarborough Shoal, drive away the Chinese there, recover the Scarborough Shoal,” Secretary Lorenzana said during a forum in Makati.

“When the ruling was announced, we were all in Malacañang. All of us Cabinet members, we had this meeting with the President. He decided to call us so as to make it a soft landing. He told us we should not be overly celebrating, because we might offend China,” Secretary Lorenzana added.

“And so Foreign Affairs Secretary Jun Yasay made the announcement that we won the ruling, and there was a criticism, because he did not appear victorious. He was somber. People thought we should be celebrating, laughing, shouting about the ruling,” he added.