Tarriela ‘disheartened’ by doubts on PCG’s capability to patrol WPS
MANILA, Philippines — It is “disheartening” for Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) spokesperson for the West Philippine Sea Jay Tarriela to hear doubts about the capability of its personnel to patrol and protect the country’s sovereign rights in West Philippine Sea.
Tarriela made the statement on the heels of Senator Robin Padilla’s statement questioning PCG’s capability to resupply BRP Sierra Madre in Ayungin Shoal without help from the United States.
“We will continue to serve and protect our exclusive economic zone (EEZ), irrespective of any external assistance,” Tarriela said in his Twitter post on Thursday.
“It is disheartening to hear doubts cast on our capabilities to carry out this duty without the support of other external actors,” he added.
In another interview, Tarriela pointed out that even without the US, PCG and Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) have been conducting the resupply mission for the World War II-era warship situated in a low-tide elevation within the country’s EEZ.
“I would like to highlight the fact that in the previous resupply mission of the Philippine Coast Guard, for so many months before we were water cannoned, before it caught the attention of the Senate to have a more active stand in the West Philippine Sea issue, the PCG, together with the AFP, has been continuously performing the resupply operation with or without the United States,” the PCG spokesperson said in an interview on ANC.
Tarriela also downplayed the role of the presence of US Navy aircraft in the latest resupply mission in BRP Sierra Madre.
“The only participation of the United States Navy with the last resupply is the Poseidon flight, which provided ISR or the intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance,” he said.
“Other than that, the resupply still was completed. It turned out to be successful, without [them] actually doing any physical participation for the resupply to happen,” he added.
BRP Sierra Madre hogged the headlines when Chinese Coast Guard vessels used water cannons against two PCG boats on a resupply mission to the ship last August 5.
China’s actions were based on its assertion that it owns almost all of the areas in South China Sea, including WPS, through its 10-dash line.
Philippines had challenged the then nine-dash line before the Permanent Court of Arbitration, which invalidated Beijing’s sweeping claim.