Despite shift: Chinese Coast Guard ships harassed Filipino fishermen last September 6 in Panatag

Image capture from ABS-CBN's video
  • Filipino fishermen reported being harassed by Chinese in Panatag Shoal
  • The Chinese tried to prevent them from fishing in the area
  • Yasay to confirm newest incident with Chinese counterparts

MANILA, Philippines – Amid President Rodrigo Duterte’s aim to warm relations with China, Filipino fishermen have reported a new round of harassment against them by Chinese Coast Guard vessels in Panatag Shoal.

The incident, which was reported by the Philippine Coast Guard to the National Security Council — Task Force West Philippine Sea, took place last September 6.

“The Chinese Coast Guard Vessel moved to the location of a Filipino banca. Upon reaching the Filipino banca, a Chinese Coast Guard personnel onboard a rubber boat ordered the Filipino banca to leave the area,” the Philippine Star quoted the NSC as saying.

To prevent further harassment, the banca was signaled to return to its boat by the captain.

The local Coast Guard also reported a similar incident but where the Filipino fishermen were able to evade the Chinese ships.

“Two Chinese rubber boats were deployed to intercept the Filipino banca from reaching Bajo de Masinloc. The Chinese rubber boats eventually disengaged and went back to their respective mother boats.”

Another case of harassment occurred on September 10 when a rubber boat belonging to the Chinese approached another banca and began taking pictures, forcing the fishermen to leave.

Foreign Affairs Secretary Perfecto Yasay said he would take the matter up with his Chinese counterparts.

“We have verified that these vessels are not the small kind of vessels traditional fishermen would be using to access Scarborough Shoal,” he said. “We will thresh it out with China to see if this is true. From what we saw, they do not have any fishing activity.”