Chinese vessels, militia spotted off Pag-asa Island — Alejano
Magdalo Rep. Gary Alejano on Wednesday alleged that Chinese Navy and Coast Guard vessels as well as maritime militia were spotted north of Pag-asa Island.
In a press conference, Alejano said he had sources who told him of a “suspicious massing up of Chinese Navy and Coast Guard and maritime militia north of Pag-asa Island, a threat to our interest in West Philippine Sea.”
“I received information from my sources in the military, stating that since 3 days ago, China has deployed 2 frigates, 1 Coast Guard vessel, and 2 large fishing vessels, with their maritime militia, 1-3 nautical miles north of Pag-asa Island,” Alejano said.
Alejano said he also received a report that two days ago, a Philippine government vessel from the Bureau of Fishers and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) was prevented by Chinese fishing vessels from going near the Pag-asa island.
“Further, the report said, two days ago a Philippine government ship from BFAR was prevented by Chinese fishing vessels from going near our sand bars located generally west of Pag-asa Island, around 2-7 miles away,” Alejano said.
Alejano said this is proof that Chinese vessels continue to harass Philippine fishermen despite cooler ties with China.
“This is highly suspicious and threatening considering the fact that China says one thing in public and does another on the ground. For example, our fishermen continued to be harassed in West Philippine Sea by Chinese Navy or Coast Guard. Let us not forget what happened in 1995 when they grabbed Mischief Reef from us,” Alejano said.
“This must be taken seriously by the Philippine government and call the attention of China to order their ships away from Pag-asa Island and file appropriate diplomatic protest against China. I call on the Philippine government officials to be transparent in what is happening in West Philippine Sea. We must assert our rights in the midst of talks with China,” he added. JE
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