DFA files two protest vs China for “belligerent actions against the Philippine Coast Guard”

Aileen Cerrudo   •   May 3, 2021   •   188

MANILA, Philippines—The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) has filed two protests against China for the continuous presence of Chinese vessels in the West Philippine Sea, and its “belligerent actions against the Philippine Coast Guard.”

In a statement, the DFA said it has protested the shadowing, blocking, dangerous maneuver, and radio challenges by the Chinese Coast Guard (CCG) on the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) vessels conducting legitimate maritime patrols and training exercises in the vicinity of Bajo de Masinloc.

The department also mentioned in its protest “the incessant, illegal, prolonged, and increasing presence of Chinese fishing vessels and maritime militia vessels in Philippine maritime zones.”

“From January 1 to March 18, 2021, Philippine maritime law enforcement agencies monitored the continued unauthorized presence and activities of hundreds of Chinese vessels in the West Philippine Sea, particularly in the areas around the Pag-asa Islands, Zamora Reef, Panata and Kota Islands, Ayungin Shoal, Quirino Atoll, and Bajo de Masinloc,” the statement said.

The department also rejects the statement of the Spokesperson of the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs on 26 April 2021 that China enjoys sovereignty over Bajo de Masinloc, reiterating that such statement has no “basis in international law, including the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), and is not recognized by the international community.”

The DFA further emphasized that “the Kalayaan Island Group (KIG) and Bajo de Masinloc are integral parts of the Philippines over which it has sovereignty and jurisdiction.”

It also reiterated that China has no law enforcement rights in these areas.

The DFA also called on China “to withdraw its government vessels around the KIG and Bajo de Masinloc and respect Philippine sovereignty.” AAC

Coast Guard to install lighted ocean buoys at Philippine Rise

Marje Pelayo   •   May 11, 2021

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) is set to install the first three of 10 state-of-the-art lighted ocean buoys to mark the Philippine Rise as part of the Philippines’ exclusive economic zone (EEZ).

The ceremony will be held on Wednesday, May 12.

The 30-foot long buoys, which arrived in Cebu from Valencia, Spain on May 7, are equipped with modern marine aids to navigation lanterns, specialized mooring systems, and a remote monitoring system that uses satellite technology to transmit data to the PCG National Headquarters in Port Area, Manila.

PCG Commandant Admiral George Ursabia Jr. said the presence of buoys in the Philippine Rise will effectively communicate that said vicinity waters is considered a special protected zone.

Hence, mining and oil exploration are strictly prohibited to preserve its rich natural resources.

Moreover, said ocean markers will also be used by the PCG to mark the designated food supply exclusive zone and ensure safe navigation in the Philippine Rise, formerly known as Benham Rise.

DFA logs 41 new cases of COVID-19 among Filipinos abroad; active cases at 6,018

Marje Pelayo   •   May 5, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) reported on Wednesday (May 5) that 41 overseas Filipinos added to the list of active cases of COVID-19 abroad.

Overall, 18,457 Filipinos abroad have been infected with the disease.

Of the said number, 6,018 Filipinos in different countries are undergoing treatment; while 11,292 have recovered. Those who succumbed to the disease are now at 1,147.

The highest number of COVID-19 cases reported among overseas Filipinos are in the Middle East and Africa, in Asia and the Pacific, and in Europe and the Americas.

To date, a total of 94 countries and territories have reported cases of Filipinos infected with coronavirus, the DFA said.

Mga barko ng China sa Sabina Shoal matagumpay na naitaboy ng PCG

Marje Pelayo   •   May 5, 2021

MANILA, Philippines — Iniulat ng Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) na matagumpay nilang naitaboy ang ilang barko ng China na pumasok sa Sabina Shoal sa karagatang sakop ng Pilipinas.

Ang Sabina Shoal ay matatagpuan humigit-kumulang 73 milya mula sa Mapankal Point, Rizal, Palawan.

Ayon kay PCG Spokesperson Commodore Armando Balilo, nagpadala ng radio communication ang Pilipinas ng mamataan ng BRP Cabra (MRRV-4409), MCS-3002, at MCS-3004 ang pitong ‘unidentified foreign vessel’ na naka-angkla sa lugar.

Kalauna ay natukoy na ito ay mga China Maritime Militia Vessel (CMMV).

“This is Philippine Coast Guard BRP Cabra (MRRV-4409). You are within Philippine exclusive economic zone. You are requested to provide the following: name of vessel, intention, last and next port of call on Channel 16,” panawagan ng PCG sa mga barko ng China.

Ito ay naganap sa sa kasagsagan ng joint maritime exercise ng PCG at Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) sa Sabina Shoal noong ika-27 ng Abril.

Ayon sa ulat ng PCG, nakipag-komunikasyon ang PCG sa mga ito para ipahayag na ang Sabina Shoal ay bahagi ng Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) ng Pilipinas.

Nang hindi makatanggap ng sagot pagkalipas ng tatlong radio communication, nilapitan ng mga barko ng Pilipinas ang mga barko ng China na agad namang nag-angat ng angkla at nagpa-andar ng makina.

Sinundan ng PCG at BFAR ang paglalayag ng mga barko para masigurong tuluyang aalis ang mga CMMV sa Sabina Shoal.

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