Foreign ships harass mayor of disputed isle
PUERTO PRINCESA CITY—The mayor of Kalayaan town in Palawan was harassed by two unidentified vessels while traveling with around 200 others by sea toward midnight on Thursday.
Mayor Eugenio Bito-onon of Kalayaan, which governs Pag-asa and four other islets in the Spratlys claimed by the Philippines, said they left Pag-asa Island on Wednesday, two days after casting their votes.
He said they were on their way to Puerto Princesa, about 280 nautical miles away, on board a municipal boat and passing by the Ayungin Shoal when the two vessels approached them.
Ayungin Shoal is about 100 nautical miles from Pag-asa and near Mischief Reef, which is occupied by China.
The vessels looked like big military naval vessels, said Bito-onon, who arrived here Friday afternoon.
He said the vessels came as close as 30 meters, following them for about an hour with heavy spotlight.
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