PCG to lawmakers: It’s time to modernize in wake of China harassment in WPS
MANILA, Philippines — In the wake of mounting Chinese aggression in the West Philippine Sea, the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) on Friday called on lawmakers to support its modernization program.
Commodore Jay Tarriela, PCG spokesperson for the West Philippine Sea, said the PCG’s assets would not be enough to patrol the WPS and protect Filipino fishermen against Chinese aggression.
“The Philippine Coast Guard is asking our lawmakers to support the Philippine Coast Guard’s modernization,” Tarriela said in an INQSide Look interview.
“It is about time that we need to acquire more offshore patrol vessels that could constantly patrol the Philippine exclusive economic zone (EEZ),” he also said.
To date, Tarriela said the PCG only has three offshore patrol vessels — one of which was bought from France and two from Japan.
“As you may be aware, the West Philippine Sea is so vast, and these three ships won’t be enough to protect our Filipino fishermen,” he stressed.
Tarriela made the call in light of the latest maritime incident involving the Chinese Coast Guard.
It can be recalled that on February 6, a PCG vessel was attacked by the Chinese Coast Guard by using a green laser in Ayungin Shoal in the West Philippine Sea, causing a “temporary blindness” of the Philippine crew.
China claims almost all of the South China Sea, including the WPS.
But in 2016, the United Nations-backed Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague invalidated China’s claim to almost the entire South China Sea.
The tribunal ruled that China’s claim had no basis in international law and that it had violated the Philippines’ sovereign right to fish and explore resources in the West Philippine Sea, the waters within the country’s 370-kilometer EEZ in the South China Sea.
This after the Philippines, under the administration of the late President Benigno Aquino III in 2013, challenged in the Hague court China’s claim that it owned more than 80 percent of the South China Sea, which included waters in the EEZ of Brunei, Malaysia, the Philippines, and Vietnam.
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