China’s alleged removal of 'payao' in WPS a ground for protest

China’s alleged ‘payao’ removal in WPS a ground for protest – senator

/ 06:03 PM April 18, 2024

Senator reacts to alleged payao cutting by Chinese in West PH Sea


MANILA, Philippines — China’s alleged removal of payaos or floating aggregate devices used for fishing by local fishermen in the West Philippine Sea could be grounds for filing another diplomatic protest if proven true, Senator Francis Tolentino said on Thursday.

“If that is true, that’s another ground for filing a diplomatic protest. But just the same, it must not deter [the] Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources from putting up more payao in the future. Let us install it again,” Tolentino said in a virtual press conference.


The Philippine Coast Guard earlier said China Coast Guard ships harassed Filipino-manned boats at Rozul (Iroquois) Reef in the West Philippine Sea.


In a post on X (formerly Twitter), PCG spokesperson for the West Philippine Sea  Commodore Jay Tarriela said the PCG and BFAR ships, accompanied by two fishing boats, were dropping “floating aggregate devices,” or “payao,” on April 4 in the vicinity of Rozul Reef when the harassment took place.

“We can file a case against an international body relative to ‘thief’ because it’s like they have stolen our property. Let us continue what we are doing now,” Tolentino, chairperson of the Senate’s special panel on maritime zones, added.

Data from the Department of Foreign Affairs showed that 150 note verbales have so far been filed by the Philippines against China during President Ferdinand “Bongbong” Marcos Jr.’s term.

Meanwhile, Tolentino said China’s alleged actions could be because of the approaching Balikatan exercises between the Philippines and the United States.

The Armed Forces of the Philippines and US military are scheduled to conduct the 39th iteration of Balikatan from April 22 to May 10.

China earlier warned the Philippines that “tensions could get worse and the region will only become less stable” when “countries outside the region are brought into the South China Sea.”


This, however, did not sit well with Tolentino who maintained that it is the Philippines’ right to conduct the military drills.

“They can also conduct military exercises in their territory. They must not be provoked and threatened because we are just exercising our rights, which are valid under international law,” said Tolentino.

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TAGS: China, West Philippine Sea

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