West Philippines Sea - updates

Rappler's latest stories on West Philippines Sea

ARTICLE FINDER

In rare move, Indonesia raises Hague ruling vs China

May 28, 2020 - 1:04 PM

The move provides an 'important building block' for Manila, which won the historic award against Beijing, says Asia maritime expert Greg Poling

LAW OF THE SEA. This handout picture taken and released on January 8, 2020 by the Presidential Palace shows Indonesia's President Joko Widodo walking past the country's flag on a navy ship during his visit to a military base in the Natuna islands, which border the South China Sea. Photo by Handout/Presidential Palace/AFP

First time: PH Navy ship docks at Pag-asa Island

May 20, 2020 - 1:00 PM

A new port and beaching ramp near completion on the country's largest outpost in the West Philippine Sea

FIRST TIME. The Philippine Navy ship BRP Ivatan (far right) docks at Pag-asa Island for the first time on May 13, 2020. Photo from Naval Forces West

West PH Sea turning into a wasteland – analyst

May 15, 2020 - 5:19 PM

Reclaiming coral reefs, harvesting giant clams, and overfishing – mostly by China – have reduced the contested sea into a 'boneyard,' says Asia maritime expert Gregory Poling

FISHERFOLK. Children play among docked boats in a fishing village in Masinloc, Zambales. Photo by Jaen Manegdeg/Rappler

ASEAN should rally behind Hague ruling to counter Chinese intimidation, experts say

May 15, 2020 - 5:07 PM

Maritime experts say China will have no choice but to adjust if its Southeast Asian neighbors put up a united front in the strategic waterway

LEGAL VICTORY. Filipinos stage a protest outside the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague, Netherlands on July 12, 2016, the day the tribunal released its ruling. Photo by Jed Alegado/Rappler

Beijing continues South China Sea aggression during pandemic

May 13, 2020 - 4:07 PM

The strategic waterway is choppy as ever as China presses on its expansive claims, leaving countries to battle a pandemic and defend their territories

VOLATILE REGION. A Chinese militia vessel identified by the Philippine Coast Guard during a patrol in Scarborough Shoal. File photo courtesy of the Philippine Coast Guard

Little hope ASEAN can rein in China in sea dispute – analyst

May 08, 2020 - 2:35 PM

The long-delayed, highly anticipated code of conduct in the coveted waterway will unlikely restrain China’s assertive actions, says US-based Asia maritime expert Greg Poling

PAG-ASA ISLAND. This photo from the Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative of the Center for Strategic and International Studies (AMTI-CSIS) shows the progress of repairs and construction on Pag-asa Island in the West Philippine Sea. Photo from AMTI-CSIS

[OPINION] China’s silent invasion

May 07, 2020 - 1:53 PM

'It remains a mystery as to why the Duterte government locks down everybody else except mainland Chinese, who tour or dock on our shores to extract our minerals, and recklessly expose our people to COVID-19'

[OPINION] Foisting false dilemmas on China

May 04, 2020 - 9:34 AM

Retired Justice Antonio Carpio is hardly an 'amateur,' and National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon Jr's views on China and the Spratlys should not go unassailed

PH protests China districts, features in West PH Sea, asserts Hague ruling

Apr 30, 2020 - 5:38 PM

The Philippine Department of Foreign Affairs says it does not recognize names given to maritime features in the Kalayaan Island Group as well as China’s declaration the area is under the jurisdiction of Sansha City

KAGITINGAN REEF. This satellite image dated January 1, 2018, shows Kagitingan Reef (Fiery Cross Reef) in the West Philippine Sea. Photo courtesy of CSIS/AMTI/DigitalGlobe

Authorize mapping agency to name features in West PH Sea – Carpio

Apr 28, 2020 - 6:05 PM

Retired Supreme Court justice Antonio Carpio says once the country's central mapping agency can approve names for features in the Philippine waters, China's attempts rename features there will lose its bearing

SOLUTIONS. Retired Supreme Court Justice offers a way to counter China's recent naming of districts and features in the South China Sea. Rappler file photo

'Offensive,' Lorenzana says about China's laser gun aimed at PH Navy ship

Apr 28, 2020 - 3:58 PM

'Why does the Chinese Navy need to aim their target acquisition radars at our airplanes or ships?' asks Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana

PHILIPPINE WARSHIP. The BRP Conrado Yap pulling into the Port of Manila in August 2019. File photo by KD Madrilejos/Rappler

Joint patrols can counter Chinese intimidation during pandemic – Carpio

Apr 27, 2020 - 10:11 PM

Retired Supreme Court senior associate justice Antonio Carpio says doing so sends a message to China that countries harassed in the South China Sea remain united

JOINT PATROLS. A Philippine Navy contingent joined the Exercise Rim of the Pacific in Hawaii in June 2018. Photo from the Philippine Naval Public Affairs Office

Carpio hits China's 'pure and simple bullying' in West Philippine Sea

Apr 24, 2020 - 2:05 PM

Maritime law expert Jay Batongbacal also calls a Chinese warship's targetting of a Philippine Navy vessel a 'provocative and reckless escalation' of tensions in the West Philippine Sea

BRP CONRADO YAP. Spectators raise their flags during the arrival of the BRP Conrado Yap (PS 39) at Pier 13 in Manila in August 2019. File photo by KD Madrilejos/Rappler

Pompeo urges ASEAN to call out Beijing's moves in South China Sea during pandemic

Apr 23, 2020 - 7:59 PM

'The U.S. strongly opposes China’s bullying and we hope other nations will hold them to account too,' says US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo

KAGITINGAN REEF. This satellite image dated January 1, 2018, shows Kagitingan (Fiery Cross) Reef in the West Philippine Sea. Photo courtesy of CSIS/AMTI/DigitalGlobe

Chinese warship targeted Philippine Navy vessel in West PH Sea – AFP

Apr 23, 2020 - 12:52 PM

The hostile act is a clear violation of international law and Philippine sovereignty, says the AFP Western Command based in Palawan

BRP CONRADO YAP. Spectators raise their flags during the arrival of the BRP Conrado Yap (PS 39) at Pier 13 in Manila in August 2019. File photo by KD Madrilejos/Rappler

'China owes us over P200 billion in West Philippine Sea damage' – Hontiveros

Apr 22, 2020 - 8:43 PM

Some P200 billion in West Philippine Sea damage, plus the P50-billion unpaid tax liabilities of POGOs, may be used to foot the Philippines' coronavirus bill, says Senator Risa Hontiveros

KAGITINGAN REEF. This satellite image dated January 1, 2018, shows Kagitingan Reef (Fiery Cross Reef) in the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea). Photo courtesy of CSIS/AMTI/DigitalGlobe

PH protests China’s aggressive moves in South China Sea during pandemic

Apr 22, 2020 - 8:11 PM

(UPDATED) Foreign Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr says 2 diplomatic protests are filed over the pointing of a radar gun at a Philippine Navy ship and the declaration the Spratlys was part of Chinese territory

PAG-ASA ISLAND. An aerial view of the Philippines' largest outpost in the West Philippine Sea. Photo from the Center for Strategic and International Studies/Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative

Del Rosario urges Duterte gov't: Protest new Chinese districts in South China Sea

Apr 20, 2020 - 5:05 PM

'As we struggle against a pandemic that poses a real threat to our lives, we must not also risk losing our national patrimony,' says former foreign secretary Albert del Rosario

TENSION. Here is a file image of the Spratly and Paracel island groups in the South China Sea. File photo from Google earth

Pandemic not affecting China's strategy in West PH Sea – U.S. analyst

Apr 14, 2020 - 12:50 PM

Expanding control over the strategic waterway is so much a part of Beijing's regular policy that the coronavirus pandemic does not appear to have hampered or boosted it, says Asia maritime expert Greg Poling

DAMAGED BOAT. A fisherman walks on the shore near the fishing boat Gem-Ver on the coast of San Jose, Occidental Mindoro in June 2019. Photo by LeAnne Jazul/Rappler

Satellite image shows Chinese military plane on Kagitingan Reef

Mar 30, 2020 - 8:00 PM

The routine presence of Chinese military assets shows Beijing's continuing dominance in the West Philippine Sea

KAGITINGAN REEF. This satellite image dated January 1, 2018, shows Kagitingan Reef (Fiery Cross Reef) in the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea). Photo courtesy of CSIS/AMTI/DigitalGlobe

China opens new research outposts in the West Philippine Sea

Mar 23, 2020 - 5:45 PM

The new research centers are on Zamora and Kagitingan reefs, which China has turned into military bases

KAGITINGAN REEF. This satellite image dated January 1, 2018, shows Kagitingan Reef (Fiery Cross Reef) in the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea). Photo courtesy of CSIS/AMTI/DigitalGlobe

PH hits China, Malaysia claims in West Philippine Sea

Mar 12, 2020 - 7:54 AM

The Department of Foreign Affairs quietly files diplomatic notes at the United Nations asserting its claims in the West Philippine Sea

PHILIPPINE WATERS. A Philippine flag is flown on a boat off the waters near the coast of Occidental Mindoro in the West Philippine Sea. Photo by LeAnne Jazul/Rappler

Lorenzana denies Chinese vessels hampered Pag-asa Island construction

Mar 10, 2020 - 9:24 PM

'Although there are always Chinese ships in the vicinity of Pag-asa, they have never in any way interfered with the rehabilitation of the island,' says the defense chief

PAG-ASA ISLAND. This satellite image from June 2019 shows construction work on Pag-asa Island, the Philippines' main outpost in the West Philippine Sea. Photo from AMTI-CSIS

LOOK: Despite swarm of Chinese boats, PH building up Pag-asa Island

Mar 07, 2020 - 3:31 PM

Satellite photos from a US-based think tank show progress in runway repairs and beaching ramp construction even as Chinese militia vessels surround the Philippines’ main outpost in the West Philippine Sea

PROGRESS. THIS photo from the Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative of the Center for Strategic and International Studies (AMTI-CSIS) shows the progress of repairs and construction on Pag-asa Island in the West Philippine Sea. Photo from AMTI-CSIS

Chinese vessels likely to stay near Pag-asa Island, says Esperon

Mar 03, 2020 - 5:15 PM

Since China has already turned Zamora Reef into a military base, it will likely keep deploying boats – believed to be militias – just 'to deny us some space,' says the Philippines' national security adviser

ZAMORA REEF. This satellite image shows Zamora (Subi) Reef, which China has reclaimed and built into a military base. Photo courtesy of CSIS/AMTI and DigitalGlobe

Over 100 Chinese vessels seen near Pag-asa Island in West PH Sea – AFP

Mar 02, 2020 - 1:23 PM

Although appearing to be fishing boats, these vessels could be part of a paramilitary force of the Chinese government

PAG-ASA ISLAND. Internationally known as Thitu Island, Pag-asa is the Philippines' largest and only civilian-inhabited island in the Kalayaan Island Group in the West Philippine Sea. File photo from the Armed Forces of the Philippines

FALSE: Photo of 'Chinese illegal fishing in West Philippine Sea'

Feb 20, 2020 - 8:30 PM

Although there have been reports of Chinese intrusions in the Philippines' territorial waters in the past, the photo that circulated was taken by NOAA at the Pacific Ocean

Duterte: 'Let time heal' West Philippine Sea dispute with China

Jan 24, 2020 - 9:36 PM

'We might as well just be friendly, improve our commerce, and let time heal,' says President Rodrigo Duterte as he again shuns the option of asserting the Philippines' rights

COMMANDER IN CHIEF. President Rodrigo Duterte salutes officers of the Philippine Navy at the Port Area in Manila on January 14, 2020. Malacañang photo

What help? Chinese company, gov't officials botch aid to Gem-Ver fishermen

Jan 15, 2020 - 10:46 PM

Rappler traces the origin of F/B Pengyou from Batangas to Occidental Mindoro. The tattered boat is the latest in the government's bungled assistance efforts for the fishermen of Gem-Ver.

China Coast Guard ship spotted patrolling Ayungin Shoal

Jan 15, 2020 - 4:11 PM

A China Coast Guard vessel is spotted in Ayungin Shoal in the West Philippine Sea as CCG officials go on a 'goodwill visit' to the Philippines

SPOTTED. A China Coast Guard vessel is spotted near Palawan's Ayungin Shoal. File photo by Tony Anastacio

PH Coast Guard: Talking with Chinese the only solution

Jan 14, 2020 - 1:41 PM

'Wala pong ibang solusyon kundi pumunta tayo sa isang lamesa mag-usap harap-harapan, at sabihin natin ang ating hinaing,' says Philippine Coast Guard chief Admiral Joel Garcia

COOPERATION. Philippine Coast Guard chief Joel Garcia (center, holding records) is flanked by Chinese Ambassador to the Philippines Huang Xilian (right) and China Coast Guard chief Wang Zhongcai. PCG photo

MANILA, Philippines – Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) chief Admiral Joel Garcia defended on Tuesday, January 14, their talks with the China Coast Guard (CCG), touting diplomatic meetings with the expansionist Chinese government as the sole antidote to end years of dispute in and over the West Philippine Sea

Kahit may hidwaan po tayo, wala pong ibang solusyon kundi diplomasya,. Wala pong ibang solusyon kundi pumunta tayo sa isang lamesa magusap harap-harapan, at sabihin natina ng ating hinaing,” Garca told throng of reporters after welcoming the CCG officials at the PCG headquarters in Manila on Tuesday morning.

(Even if we have a divide, we have no other solution but diplomacy. There is no other solution but to meet with them at the table, in person, and tell them our grievances.)

Why defensive? Garcia turned defensive after reporters asked for a reaction to criticism that the PCG’s meeting with CCG shouldn’t have been pursued in light of multiple instances where Chinese Coast Guard personnel harassed Filipino fishermen in the West Philippine Sea.

For Garcia, however, shutting out the incidents for the meantime and focusing on the meeting was needed to prevent more conflicts at sea.

WELCOMED. China Coast Guard Major General Wang Zhongcai during the arrival honors at Philippine Coast Guard Headquarters in Manila on January 14, 2020. Photo by KD Madrilejos/Rappler

PH welcomes China Coast Guard officials for ‘historic’ Manila talks

Jan 14, 2020 - 8:36 AM

The welcoming ceremony opens days of unprecedented talks and exercises between the two coast guards

WELCOME. The Philippine Coast Guard welcomes China Coast Guard ship 5204 in Manila. Photo by KD Madrilejos/Rappler

China Coast Guard ship arrives in Manila for ‘friendly visit’

Jan 13, 2020 - 8:14 PM

The China Coast Guard maintains a presence in some key areas of the West Philippine Sea

CHINA COAST GUARD. Sightings of China Coast Guard vessels have been reported around Panatag (Scarborough) and Ayungin  (Second Thomas) shoals in the West Philippine Sea. File photo from Japan Coast Guard/AFP

No mention of West Philippine Sea in new military chief’s speech

Jan 04, 2020 - 10:17 PM

Lieutenant General Felimon Santos Jr praises President Duterte’s ‘localized peace talks’ with communist guerrilla fronts, and vows to focus military efforts on stamping out the rebellion

NEW AFP CHIEF. Lieutenant General Felimon Santos Jr was installed as Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces of the Philippines on January 4, 2020. Screengrab from RTVM

The second sinking of Gem-Ver

Dec 27, 2019 - 1:18 PM

Part 1: Rappler returns to San Jose 5 months later, in November, as the crewmen finish their repairs and prepare to sail back to Recto Bank. While Gem-Ver has been patched up, its men have drifted apart.

2019: Year of rough seas for PH in the face of belligerent China

Dec 10, 2019 - 8:09 PM

Often undetected, Chinese vessels and warships cross deeper into the Philippines' territorial seas and closer to home

Malacañang: Morales, Del Rosario tapped 'ineffective process' for propaganda value

Dec 07, 2019 - 7:44 PM

Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo says the ICC Prosecutor's conclusion that it has no jurisdiction over alleged crimes committed in the West Philippine Sea by China is in line with the Duterte government's stand

Former Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario arrives in NAIA Terminal 3, Pasay City after he was denied to enter Hongkong on June 21, 2019. PHOTO BY INOUE JAENA/RAPPLER

Del Rosario, Morales still pursuing ICC complaint vs China

Dec 06, 2019 - 8:27 AM

Former Philippine foreign secretary Albert del Rosario and former ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales vow to submit new 'facts and evidence' for their case accusing China of crimes against humanity in the South China Sea

NOT OVER. Former Philippine foreign secretary Albert del Rosario and former ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales vow to pursue their complaint vs China at the International Criminal Court. Photo by Angie de Silva

Int'l Criminal Court junks PH case vs China for lack of jurisdiction

Dec 05, 2019 - 9:13 PM

ICC Prosecutor Fatou Bensouda says China's alleged crimes against humanity in the West Philippine Sea 'do not fall within the territorial or otherwise personal jurisdiction of the Court'

PHILIPPINE SUIT. Former ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales and former foreign secretary Albert Del Rosario file the Philippine suit against China before the International Criminal Court. Photo by Jae Maryanol/Rappler

China condemns U.S. navy sail-by in disputed South China Sea

Nov 22, 2019 - 12:27 PM

The US Navy says the USS Gabrielle Giffords littoral combat ship sailed near Mischief Reef in the Spratly Islands, and the USS Wayne E. Meyer guided-missile destroyer passed the Paracel Islands

DISPUTED WATERS. This file photo taken on May 5, 2016 shows crew members of China's South Sea Fleet taking part in a drill in the Xisha Islands, or the Paracel Islands in the South China Sea. Stringer/AFP

Rappler Talk: Law of the Sea expert James Kraska on China and the 'gray zone'

Nov 21, 2019 - 2:02 PM

Rappler editor-at-large Marites Vitug sits down with Law of the Sea expert James Kraska to discuss the concept of gray zones, the potentials for risk and conflict, and how a country like the Philippines should respond

Least trusted? Malacañang says China can be PH 'role model'

Nov 21, 2019 - 11:59 AM

Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo also believes Filipinos will 'eventually' appreciate China – despite its aggressive tactics in the West Philippine Sea

LEADERS, FRIENDS. Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte and Chinese President Xi Jinping shake hands after anl expanded bilateral meeting in Malacañang on November 20, 2018. Malacañang photo

IN THEIR OWN WORDS: The new fishermen of Gem-Ver

Nov 19, 2019 - 9:22 PM

Ten new crew members of fishing boat Gem-Ver prepare to sail again to Recto Bank

NEW CREW. The fishermen and crew of F/B Gem-Ver pose for a group picture on November 15, 2019, in Brgy San Roque, San Jose Occidental Mindoro. All photos by LeAnne Jazul/Rappler

In Manila, U.S. defense chief says ‘assert sovereign rights’ in West PH Sea

Nov 19, 2019 - 8:46 PM

Although the US maintains it does not take sides in the sovereignty dispute between the Philippines and China, its defense chief wants smaller countries to pressure the rising power into respecting their rights

PRESSURE CHINA. U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper calls on the Philippines and other claimant states in the South China Sea to pressure China into respecting their sovereign rights. Photo by Darren Langit/Rappler

[ANALYSIS] Scarborough Shoal and its threat to Philippine centers of gravity

Nov 12, 2019 - 8:00 PM

It is our economic assets, our commerce, and way of life that can now be threatened by the Chinese. Green Aura is a harbinger of things to come.

Carpio hits awards to China envoy: 'Our heroes turning in their graves'

Nov 08, 2019 - 1:49 PM

Retired SC justice Antonio Carpio urges UP law alumni to practice their profession in the service of Filipinos, which is practicing law 'in the grand manner'

STAUNCH DEFENDER. Retired Supreme Court justice Antonio Carpio hits the Duterte administrations awards to outgoing China Ambassador Zhao Jianhua. Photo by Jire Carreon/Rappler

[PODCAST] Bakit di dapat balewalain ang harassment ng China malapit sa Panatag Shoal?

Nov 07, 2019 - 10:28 PM

Mali si Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo na wala sa interes ng Pilipinas ang insidente sa West Philippine Sea.

Ship captain in Chinese vessel spat hailed as hero but might lose job

Nov 06, 2019 - 7:26 AM

Batangas City commends the 'exemplary courage' of seasoned seaman Manolo Ebora, who calls on the government to also make a stand for Filipinos' rights in the West Philippine Sea

HOMETOWN HERO. Unlike the national government, the local government of Batangas City commends the 'exemplary courage' that commercial ship captain Manolo Ebora showed by standing up to Chinese vessels in Panatag Shoal on September 30. This photo shows Ebora receiving awards from the Batangas City Council on November 5, 2019. Photo by Adrian Portugal/Rappler

Gov't neglecting duty to defend PH territory – maritime expert

Nov 05, 2019 - 10:19 AM

Maritime law expert Jay Batongbacal says not calling out China's latest harassment 'is tantamount to a public surrender of Philippine interest in Scarborough Shoal'

WEST PHILIPPINE SEA. This broader ECDIS map image shows Scarborough Shoal adjacent to the western tip of Luzon. The red line represents the general direction of the Green Aura's course as it heads from Thailand to China on its voyage from September 26 to October 6, 2019. Photo courtesy of Captain Manolo Ebora

Why should we alter our course? This week's outlook

Nov 04, 2019 - 9:45 PM

We wonder how many stories in the high seas are left untold – whether by Philippine Navy troops who would get into confrontations with Chinese ships or Filipino fishermen who are constantly harassed in our own waters