MANILA – Chinese Coast Guard vessels continue to harass Filipino fishers at Bajo de Masinloc in the disputed West Philippine Sea (WPS), the Philippine Coast Guard reported.
In a press release of the National Security Council-Task Force West Philippine Sea, the Philippine Coast Guard said, on Sept. 6, 2016, three China Coast Guard vessels sighted at Bajo de Masinloc including two Filipino fishing bancas.
“The Chinese Coast Guard Vessel went to the location of a Filipino fisherman banca, a Chinese Coast Guard personnel onboard a rubber boat ordered the Filipino to leave the area,” the PCG said in its report.
The Filipino fisherman was arguing with the Chinese Coast Guard personnel to let them stay in the area to fish. Another rubber boat from Chinese Coast Guard headed towards the location of the Filipino fisherman but still refuses to leave the area.
After these skirmishes, PCG operatives spotted another Filipino fishing vessel approaching Bajo de Masinloc.
“When the Filipino fishing vessel was around three nautical miles from Bajo de Masinloc, it was blocked by the Chinese Coast Guard. The Filipino fishing boat outmaneuvered the Chinese Coast Guard vessel. Two Chinese rubber boats were deployed to intercept the vessel from reaching Bajo de Masinloc. The Chinese rubber boats eventually disengaged and went back to their respective mother ships,” the PCG reported.
The three Filipino fishing boats were able to stay at Bajo de Masinloc for the night, but they left in the morning for fear of harassment by the Chinese Coast Guard vessels.
- On September 7, 2016, the PCG monitored a People’s Liberation Army Navy vessel patrolling the vicinity 17 of Bajo de Masinloc.
- On Sept. 10, 2016, while anchored at Bajo de Masinloc, PCG operatives sighted a Chinese Coast Guard vessel near the vicinity of Bajo de Masinloc.
The PCG reported the Chinese Coast Guard vessel moved closer to the position of the Filipino boats and launched a rubber boat and encircled their location.
Some Chinese Coast Guard personnel were seen taking photos and videos. The Filipino fishing vessel decided to leave the area to avoid further harassment.
Last month, Pres. Duterte called on Beijing to let the Filipino fishermen, most of them poor, to fish in the WPS which is a traditional fishing ground of Filipinos.