PCG men say they acted in self-defense


Philippine Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources director Asis Perez points to a map in Manila on May 10, 2013, showing where a Philippine fisheries patrol vessel manned by the coast guard shot at a Taiwanese fishing vessel the day before near Balintang island in the northern Philippines. The Philippine coastguard admitted on May 10 that its personnel shot at a Taiwanese fishing boat in an incident that authorities in Taipei said left a crewman dead. AFP FILE PHOTO/Jay DIRECTO

MANILA, Philippines—It was self-defense.

That’s how Philippine Coast Guard officers aboard a Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) vessel described their action during an encounter with a Taiwanese fishing boat off Balintang Island in northern Philippines last week.

The coast guards submitted their report on the encounter to their commander, Rear Adm. Rodolfo Isorena, a copy of which has been submitted to the National Bureau of Investigation (NBI), which President Benigno Aquino III has ordered to look into the circumstances of the May 9 incident that led to the shooting death of Taiwanese fisherman Hung Shih-cheng and to new tensions between Taiwan and the Philippines.

A source who has knowledge of the investigation told the Inquirer yesterday that the coast guards and two BFAR employees aboard the surveillance vessel MCS-3001 admitted firing on the Taiwanese fishing boat Guang Ta Hsin 28, but only in “self-defense.”

“The fishing boat with passengers speaking a foreign language approached at full speed and attempted to ram the Philippine vessel, but the bigger [BFAR] vessel was able to [maneuver and the fishing boat missed it by a meter],” the source said.

There had been warnings from the Coast Guard before that, the source said.

The coast guards heard on their radio an instruction in “a foreign language” then the fishing boat sped toward the MCS-3001.

Warning shot

Using their vessel’s public address system, the coast guards ordered the fishing boat to stop, the source said.

“But the fishing boat did not heed the order and continued to speed toward the Philippine vessel, forcing it to fire a warning shot,” the source said.

Then the near-miss, and a shirtless crew member of the fishing boat coming out on deck and making motions as if daring the coast guards to come after his boat, the source said.

The fishing boat sped off and the MCS-3001 went after it, firing at the boat’s engine to stop the vessel.

But the coast guards gave up the chase when they saw eight to 10 more fishing boats where the Guang Ta Hsin 28 was headed.

It is unclear whether the shirtless man who taunted the coast guards was Hung and how the fisherman was hit.

But the Taiwanese government is demanding, among other things, a formal apology from the Philippine government for Hung’s death, compensation for the fisherman’s family, and the arrest and punishment of the killers.

To pressure the Philippines, Taiwan froze the hiring of Filipino workers.

President Aquino sent a letter to the Taiwanese government on Wednesday, but Taipei rejected it for being “insincere” and suspended official and trade exchanges, economic cooperation projects, tourist travel to the Philippines, and staged naval exercises in waters near the Philippines to show its anger over the killing of Hung.

Drill ignored

Malacañang ignored the naval exercises, which it said on Friday were held outside Philippine territory.

“As long as the activity is within their borders, or in the high seas, then that should not be a concern for us,” deputy presidential spokesperson Abigail Valte told reporters.

But she said the government was preparing for “contingencies” following Taiwan’s imposition of retaliatory measures on the Philippines.

Valte said the Department of Labor and Employment was looking at “alternative markets” for Filipino workers whose job applications had been frozen.

Valte said the Philippine government had “done enough” by apologizing for Hung’s death. But she said she did not know how Mr. Aquino took Taiwan’s rejection of his apology.

Avoiding escalation

Asked about China’s backing Taiwan in this controversy, Valte said the President had given instructions to “avoid escalation.”

Malacañang also ignored the arrival of Taiwanese investigators on Wednesday to join the Philippine investigation of the incident.

Valte quoted Justice Secretary Leila de Lima as saying that the Taiwanese investigators first have to make arrangements with the Manila Economic and Cultural Office in Taipei before coming to Manila.

De Lima yesterday said the Taiwanese investigators were free to investigate the killing of Hung, but how much access they would be allowed here depended on how much access NBI investigators would be given in Taiwan for their own investigation of the circumstances surrounding Hung’s death.

The NBI is sending a team to Taiwan to talk to the crew of the Guang Ta Hsin 28 and inspect the boat as part of the Philippine investigation.

No joint probe

“We shall see up to what extent the cooperation between the two investigative teams would be. But it’s not going to be a joint [probe],” De Lima said.

“We can allow them to inspect the Philippine Coast Guard-Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources vessel. But they should also allow us to inspect the Taiwanese fishing vessel, and, if possible, [the inspections should be] simultaneous,” she added.

NBI Director Nonnatus Rojas and Virgilio Mendez, the bureau’s deputy director for regional services and leader of the investigative team, presented at a news conference yesterday 15 high-powered firearms used by the coast guards during the encounter with the Taiwanese fishing boat.

The NBI officials, however, declined to go into specifics, just saying that the coast guards claimed “provocation.”

Video of encounter

Mendez confirmed that the NBI has a video of the encounter at sea, but the authenticity of the video had yet to be established.

“We want to interview the person who took that video first, and determine if it is really relevant to this investigation,” Mendez said. With reports from Michael Lim Ubac and Jerome Aning

Get Inquirer updates while on the go, add us on these apps:

Inquirer Viber

Disclaimer: The comments uploaded on this site do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of management and owner of We reserve the right to exclude comments that we deem to be inconsistent with our editorial standards.

  • Jimmy Munar

    Pag umalis lahat ang mga Pilipinong nagtratrabaho sa Taiwan ay pag hindi natigil ang kanilang mga pabrika..!!! Hindi dapat na magyabang ang Taiwan dahil malaki ang naitutulong ng mga Pilipino sa kanilang ekonomiya…!!!!

    • jseesus

      Bobo mo ang daming mga Vietnamese Saka mga Thailander di pa mga reklamador gaya ninyo. Buti pa mag siuwian na kayo mga leche.

      • crocodiledundee

        leche ka din hindot ka!!! sira ulo ka palang gunggung kang animal ka e bat d nila kinuha thai at viets noon pa bat pinadame pa nila pinoy dun… kung d nila kailangan pinoy walang pupuntang pinoy OFW dun stupido!!!

      • felix1959

        Wag nyong pansinin yan tulo laway na chekwa yan sa divisoria mall na sinunog!

      • rem1911

        You have any idea why Filipinos are more in demand abroad? so please dont even start comparing Vietnamese and Thai workers…

      • lex

        UNGAS ka pala ! Usapan lang ito ng mga FILIPINO. Layas ! Di ka WELCOME dito!.

      • levis2012

        Huwag ka kasing sabad ng sabad, lumalabas tuloy ang kaistupiduhan mo!

      • ako

        TAILANDER?! HAHAH..baka THAI ang ibig mo sabihin…BOBO!
        Kelan pa nagkaruon ng tailander? nung pinanganak mga Taiwanese na bobo tawag nila sa THAI ay Tailander…..HAHAHAHHH
        Also hindi lang makapagreklamo ang mga THAI and VIETNAMESE kasi di lng nila alam panu yun ideliver into english ang reklamo nila. And ung iba naman napaka-inosente kahit alam nila iniisahan na sila ng amo nila ok lng sa kanila. Well ibahin mo kaming mga pinoy pag alam namin na nasa lugar kami lalaban kami..!

  • crocodiledundee

    there are so many intrusions in philippine waters thousands of incidents na cguro d lang sa area na yan hanggang mindanao malamang at milyon-milyong halaga ng isda etc ang nahuli na dyan… ang malaking tanong sa dinami dami ng insidente ( d lang instik me vietnamese din) bakit ngayon lang mukang nagalit ang coast guard at nauwi sa putukan. dito sa pinas kalmante lang mga tao maski ilang instik na nahuli na gumagawa ng illigal, (me mga sindikato pa) sana ganun din sa taiwan wag naman sana nilang idamay mga nagtratrabahong pinoys dun d naman makapupunta dun yung mga yun kung d nila kailangan trabaho na maibibigay sa kanila ng mga pinoy workers. masyadong mainggay gobierno nila imbes na kalmahin mga tao nila parang lalong sinusulsulan nila. easy lang mga taiwanese d kame kaaway at ayaw ng pinas ng gerra ang dami na naming gerang pinag daanan walang maidudulot na maganda yan. maging mahinahon sana bawat panig.

  • boybakal

    PCG men say they acted in self-defense….

    I don’t believe this PCG.
    Even pirates in Somalia are not being killed.
    PCG were just trigger happy.



  • batangpaslit

    taka lang ako.
    kung “self-defense”, bakit hinabol pa nang kumaripas na nang alis?

    • levis2012

      self-defense dahil babanggain ng Taiwanese fishing boat ang PCG vessel. Hinabol pa dahil duty ng PCG na hulihin ang mga magnanakaw. Pinaputukan para madis-able ang engine ng taiwanese fishing vessel. Unfortunately, may tinamaan sa engine compartment ng Taiwanese vessel at natigok. In short, ang Taiwanese ang nag provoke ng insidente kaya nakuha nila ang kanilang hinahanap!

      Kayong mga Taiwanese tigilan na ninyo ang pagnanakaw sa teritoryo ng Pilipinas para hindi kayo matulad sa nadedbol ninyong kalahi! Kaso ang mga lider ng Taiwan kinukunsinti pa ang mga magnanakaw nilang kalahi…. Shame on you Taiwan!

      • batangpaslit

        Levis, crew ka ba ng gunboat ng Phil Coast Guard at masabi mo nang diretso ang self-defense?
        Sigurado ka ba ng hinabol mo ang kumaripas na fishing boat at sakop pa ng territorial waters?
        Pag katulad mo ang skipper ng ating mga gunboat, eh, hindi malaunan ipahamak mo ang bayang Pilipinas.
        Bakit dimo hinwakan ang gunboat at hinarap ang naval ships ng Mainland China kung matapang at magaling ka pala?
        Pag ang mga navy skippers natin ay tulad mo, ilulugmok mo ang bansa natin sa away dahil lang sa isda?
        Napag usapan ang ganitong mga bagay.
        We have avenues like diplomatic protests. May direct line ang Presidente ng Pilipinas sa mga allies natin.
        Hindi kalaban ang Taiwan.
        ‘Dimo ba alam na ang ibang bala na gamit ng Armed Forces ay galing sa Taiwan?

  • pinoypower

    Ang law enforcer tulad ng Coast Guard di dapat utak pulbura. Dapat aware din sila sa rules of engagement in maritime zones covered by UNCLOS. Malaking violation na paputukan agad ang isang foreign vessel lalo pa at unarmed fishing boat ito. Paano kung ganyan din ang gawin sa ating mga fishermen? The claim of our Coast Guard that they acted in self defense because the Taiwanese fishing vessel was going to ram them was very flimsy. Why should they be afraid when they have the bigger vessel and why they didn’t take evasive action?
    Hindi ako kumakampi sa mga Taiwanese pero hindi rin dapat takpan ang pagkakamali ng ating Coast Guard kung mayroon man dahil maraming inosenteng OFWs ang nadaramay sa kapalpakan ng ilan.
    Sana bilisan ng gobyerno ang investigations dahil international issue ito.

    • levis2012

      HIndi ka ba nagbabasa? Ang yabang pa ng Taiwanese boat para banggain ang PCG vessel ng Pilipinas. Nasa Rules of Engagement na magpaputok ang PCG for self-defense at para ma-disable ang engine ng Taiwanese fishing vessel. Pinapatigil ang mga Taiwanese pero hindi sumunod, nagpahabol pa. Naghahanap talaga ng gulo, hayun nadedbol isa nilang kasamahan.

  • levis2012

    I think the best solution for the Philippines is to really seriously consider strengthening our military power, most specially aerial and naval forces. These greedy Taiwanese, including these Chinese from China, are so used in doing evil, they are thieves, and they do not respect or care, they just want to grab and steal whatever they want. Once confronted or arrested, they bully and threaten with their military might. These bull*hits must be kicked out and dumped into their rightful place! But once Philippines becomes a military power, these IDIOTS will cower like chicken! Their arrogance is so disgusting!

    • ClarkInKuwait

      Your suggestion above is ideal and will give national pride to all filipinos. However budget done by the appropriations committee in both chambers will priotize education, infrastructures, health and pro poor alleviating measures to meet UNs millenium development goals.

      Congressmen and Senators should look for novel ways to fund these acquistions like privatization of GCCs, disposal of madam Marcos jewelry (might be worth 2 frigates), invigorated taxation drive, elimination of corruption (an impossible task?), etc.



    • Gygy Gygy

      There was an old Taiwanese fisherman killed by the PCG in Jan 2006 like this time.
      The final investigation showed the PCG officers were quilty.
      The perpetrators still happily live in Philippines.
      That’s why this time Taiwanese don’t trust the the Philippines’ own investigation anymore.

      Do you know why Taiwanese are so angry this time.
      Many Taiwanese fishermen have been kidnapped and killed by pirates in many years.
      The pirates wear the PCG uniform,it means the pirates are the Philippines PCG officers.
      Many kidnapped Taiwanese fishermen have to ask their family to deposit money into these pirates’ accounts when they are imprisoned in private jails in Philippines.
      If the kidnapped fishermen’s family don’t give money,the PCG will maltreat them.
      The PCG officers are these idiots,bull*hits and greedy guys doing evil,grabbing and stealing whatever they want;But acting like a coward cowers in their port when they see other country’s navy.

      The Philippines government never take it serious of any incident related to foreigner.
      Do you remember the seized bus incident(Rizal Park Hostage-taking Incident) happened in Manilla in 2010,
      there were 8 victims killed by the stupid Philippines policemen.
      You can ask Hong Kong people the feeling of the Philippines government and president.
      I think the Philippine people are friendly,but I look down on the Philippines government

      Weak power of military is not shameful,maybe it will be growing up on certain day.
      But,cheating their own people is disgusting and causing other country’s spit.

  • nakedsatan

    defense daw un sana intindihin nyo mga taiwanese haha

To subscribe to the Philippine Daily Inquirer newspaper in the Philippines, call +63 2 896-6000 for Metro Manila and Metro Cebu or email your subscription request here.

Factual errors? Contact the Philippine Daily Inquirer's day desk. Believe this article violates journalistic ethics? Contact the Inquirer's Reader's Advocate. Or write The Readers' Advocate:

c/o Philippine Daily Inquirer Chino Roces Avenue corner Yague and Mascardo Streets, Makati City,Metro Manila, Philippines Or fax nos. +63 2 8974793 to 94


editors' picks




latest videos