Chinese drove away 2nd PH boat
SUBIC, Zambales—Another fishing boat carrying at least 10 fishermen from Zambales was also chased away by the Chinese Coast Guard from Panatag Shoal (international name: Scarborough Shoal) on March 7, according to the crew of the fishing boat FB Bughoy, which itself was reportedly attacked days before on March 5 and 6.
Junmar Pumicpic, 25, captain of the Bughoy, said on Sunday the other fishing boat remained at sea, its crew struggling to get away from the Chinese Coast Guard vessels that had been patrolling around the shoal.
Pumicpic, whose boat was driven away by two Chinese rubber boats twice on March 5 and 6, said he and his 10 companions saw the Chinese coast guards harass the other fishing boat.
“That group of fishermen tried to evade the Chinese patrols by throwing rocks at them. Unfortunately, the glass windows of their fishing boat were damaged during the chase,” Pumicpic said.
He said he was worried about the safety of those fishermen who were left behind, fearful the Chinese coast guards appeared determined to forcibly block off the shoal from Filipino fishermen.
“We haven’t heard from them since we decided to return home. We’re hoping the Philippine Coast Guard will check on them,” he said.
The captain urged the government to protect Filipino fishermen who are trying to make a living in the shoal, a traditional fishing ground. The shoal is located 230 kilometers from Masinloc town in Zambales, within the Philippines’ 370-km exclusive economic zone.
China seized the shoal from the Philippines after a two-month standoff between Chinese and Philippine vessels in 2012. It has since cordoned off the shoal, driving away Filipino fishermen.
“We’re investing so much every time we sail out to sea. We’re also risking our lives so we’re asking our Coast Guard to defend us and our territory from China,” Pumicpic said.
Their boat returned to shore here early Saturday. Pumicpic said his boat was accosted by Chinese coast guards on rubber boats.
“This is China Coast Guard. Go back to Subic,” he quoted one of the Chinese coast guards as telling them.
Lt. Cmdr. Jonathan Marfil, commander of the PCG station at Subic, said his office had yet to receive a report on the alleged harassment of the local fishermen. Personnel from the PCG intelligence unit have gathered the statements of the crew of the Bughoy.
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