THE Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) and Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) strongly condemn the China Coast Guard’s (CCG’s) installation of floating barrier in the Southeast portion of Bajo de Masinloc (BDM), which prevents Filipino Fishing Boats (FFBs) from entering the shoal and depriving them of their fishing and livelihood activities.
The floating barrier with an estimated length of 300 meters was discovered by the PCG and BFAR personnel onboard BRP Datu Bankaw when they conducted routine maritime patrol on September 22, 2023 at the vicinity of BDM.
Three (3) CCG’s Rigid Hull Inflatable Boats (RHIBs) and Chinese Maritime Militia’s service boat installed the floating barrier upon arrival of the BFAR vessel in the vicinity of the shoal.
It was reported by the Filipino fishermen that the CCG vessels usually install floating barriers whenever they monitor a large number of Filipino fishermen in the area.
During the routine maritime patrol, the BFAR vessel observed more than fifty (50) FFBs engaged in fishing activities in the area.
Recognizing the importance of supporting the artisanal or subsistence fishing of these fishermen, the BFAR provided them with various grocery items and fuel subsidies to sustain their operations.
However, a total of four (4) CCG vessels (CCG-3065, CCG-3066, CCG-3105, and CCG-3301) initiated a series of fifteen (15) radio challenges in an attempt to drive away the BFAR vessel and FFBs.
The CCG crew alleged that the presence of the BFAR vessel and Filipino fishermen violated international law and the domestic laws of the People’s Republic of China (PRC).
The BFAR vessel responded to each and every radio calls and emphasized that they were carrying out a routine patrol within the territorial sea of BDM.
Notably, upon realizing the presence of media personnel onboard the BFAR vessel, the CCG vessels maintained a safe distance and moved away.
The PCG Commandant, CG Admiral Artemio M Abu, expresses his commitment to supporting the BFAR and other national government agencies in their efforts to ensure the safety and security of our Filipino fishermen.
The PCG will continue to work closely with all concerned government agencies to address these challenges, uphold our maritime rights and protect our maritime domains.