A Philippine Coast Guard vessel (PCG) who were on patrol and accompanying the Filipino fishermen had a face-off with a Chinese Coast Guard ship inside the country’s Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ).
“The face-off happened three weeks ago when a Chinese Coast Guard ship crossed paths with our Philippine Coast Guard vessel, 73 to 100 nautical miles from the Subic coast, which is a traditional fishing area for the Filipino fishermen” PCG spokesperson Commander Armand Balilo said, Thursday, August 18.
“We have been patrolling the area, assisting our fishermen. Kaya nandun yung mga barko ng Coast Guard. We intend to continue patrolling doon. It is part of the West Philippine Sea. It is within our exclusive economic zone,” Balilo said.
He said, “Very polite naman yung exchange of messages. Nagpakilala lang sila (Chinese Coast Guard) at nagpakilala lang din kami. Nagtanungan lang.”
Contrary to past incidents when Filipino fishermen were barred by the Chinese Coast Guard in Scarborough Shoal, Balilo said that the Chinese Coastguard were very cordial and no untoward occurrence happened. Hindi rin naman pinigilan makapangisda ang ating mga fishermen.
Balilo conceded that the two PCG vessels were comparably smaller than the passing Chinese Coast Guard vessel.
The PCG said it is only typical for foreign vessels to pass the country’s exclusive economic zone, however, they have no privilege and no right to fish in the area or from preventing the Filipino fishermen from fishing in that area. – JCE.