MANILA, Philippines – Filipino fishermen collecting sea shells near Bajo de Masinloc in the West Philippine Sea were reportedly harassed and driven away by Chinese Coast Guard, according to videos posted on Facebook.
Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) spokesperson Commodore Jay Tarriela on Sunday, January 21 said that they are able to identify the origin of the videos posted on January 19, and are in the process of taking statements from those involved.
Tarriela cited a statement from a certain Jack Tabat from Zambales in which he said that the incident happened on January 12 while Filipino fishermen were on board FB Legendary Jo and near the south entrance of Bajo de Masinloc.
“The fishermen were instructed to return the shells they had gathered to the sea and were subsequently driven away,” Tariella said on X, formerly Twitter. “[Tabat] also documented one Chinese Coast Guard personnel grabbing the fishing boat and preventing it from departing unless the fishermen threw back their gathered sea shells into the sea.”
At least five CCG personnel on board a rubber boat approached the Filipino fishermen, with four disembarking to chase them away.
This is the latest incident of harassment faced by Filipino fishermen at the hands of the CCG, as tensions between the Philippines and China have risen in recent months.
Tarriela said the the PCG is waiting for the involved Filipino boat to arrive and that they “intend to gather testimonies from these fishermen as well.” – Rappler.com