MANILA, Philippines – Five Chinese vessels remain within the Philippines’ territorial waters despite the country’s diplomatic protests and calls for China to withdraw these ships, the National Task Force West Philippine Sea (NTF-WPS) said Wednesday.
In a statement, the NTF-WPS said that Area Task Forces spotted three Chinese Coast Guard (CCG) vessels in Bajo de Masinloc, one CCG vessel in Municipality of Kalayaan, and one CCG vessel in Ayungin Shoal.
“These incursions are under review for the possible filing of appropriate diplomatic actions,” the task force said.
“We remind all stakeholders in the region of their respective commitments made in the 2002 Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea, and underscore the importance of diplomacy and sincere discussion in exploring areas of cooperation especially on marine environmental protection in the area, lest we risk denying present and future generations the right to a healthy and sustainable environment,” it added.
The NTF-WPS also reported that it continues to patrol the West Philippine Sea in the exercise of its sovereignty and sovereign rights under the Philippine Constitution and international law.
The Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) has deployed its Monitoring, Control, and Surveillance (MCS) vessels and Multi-Mission Offshore Vessels (MMOV) to the Municipality of Kalayaan, the task force said.
The Philippine National Police – Maritime Group has also dedicated its High-Speed Tactical Watercraft, Police Gun Boats, and Police Fast Boats ready to be deployed in law enforcement patrols.
PNP-MG personnel will be posted to the Municipality of Kalayaan and assigned as shipriders aboard PCG, Philippine Navy (PN) and BFAR vessels, the NTF-WPS said.
“The Area Task Forces have likewise dedicated naval vessels and military aircraft to conduct sovereignty patrols on rotational basis over the Municipality of Kalayaan, Bajo de Masinloc, and the rest of the western seaboard,” it added.
The NTF-WPS also reported that for the period April 15 to 22, 2021, there were no direct incidents between the Chinese Coast Guard (CCG) and Filipino fishermen, in both the Municipality of Kalayaan and Bajo de Masinloc, for the third consecutive week.
An average of 20 Filipino fishing boats and service boats were monitored fishing within the territorial sea of Bajo de Masinloc.