Sovereignty patrols vs illegal fishers to go on
MANILA – The Philippine government through the National Task Force for the West Philippine Sea (NTF-WPS) will continue its patrols as it exercises its sovereignty and sovereign rights under the Philippine Constitution and international law.
In a statement released today, the NTF-WPS said the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG), the Department of Agriculture-Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (DA-BFAR) as well as the Philippine National Police-Maritime Group (PNP-MG) are regularly coordinating in the continuous regular deployment of vessels in the country’s territory for law enforcement, monitoring and ensuring the safety and well-being of Filipino fishermen, and protecting the environment.
BFAR has deployed its Monitoring, Control and Surveillance (MCS) vessels and complemented by Multi-Mission Offshore Vessels (MMOV) to the vicinity of Kalayaan town. They are in close coordination with the Philippine Coast Guard.
Meanwhile, the PNP-MG prepared its High-Speed Tactical Watercraft, Police Gun Boats and Police Fast Boats for law enforcement patrols. PNP-MG personnel will be assigned to Kalayaan town and will be organic personnel assigned to augment PCG, Philippine Navy (PN) and BFAR vessels.
Accordingly, the Area Task Forces (ATFs) have identified naval vessels and military aircraft to do sovereignty patrols on rotational basis over Kalayaan, Bajo de Masinloc and the rest of the western seaboard.
From April 15-22, 2021, the PCG said there were no direct incidents between the Chinese Coast Guard (CCG) and Filipino fishermen in Kalayaan and Bajo de Masinloc.
An average of twenty(20) Filipino fishing and service boats were monitored fishing in the periphery of Bajo de Masinloc.
However, the ATFs reported the continued illegal presence of three (3) Chinese Coast Guard (CCG) vessels in Bajo de Masinloc, one (1) CCG) in Kalayaan and one (1) CCG vessel. In Ayungin shoal. The incursions are under review for possible filing of appropriate diplomatic actions.
The DFA said they have lodged 78 diplomatic protests since the swarming of Chinese militia vessels in the country’s exclusive economic zone. (Melo M. Acuña)