Kalayaan Mayor Eugenio Bito-onon Jr. also experienced harassment from Chinese Coast Guard. Kalayaan Municipality governs the residents of Kalayaan (Spratly) group of Islands. Its town hall is located at Pagasa Island.
“We were on our way to Ayungin Shoal when a Chinese Coast Guard vessel with body number CCG 3111 tried to block our path and stopped in front of us that we almost collided with them. It was a dangerous and irresponsible maneuver,” the Mayor said.
“It was already dark when it happened last Aug. 1 and the sea was very turbulent. Anything could have happened to us if we were not able to maneuver because they were just about 50 meters right in front of our boat,” Bito-onon added.
Department of Foreign Affairs will include this incident to its diplomatic protest to China. The protest will be expressed through note verbal via Chinese Embassy this week.
“This is the result of the presence of China, they are harassing and this is affecting our ability to exercise our sovereign rights there,” DFA Assistant Secretary Charles Jose said. He noted that China is already doing “illegitimate sovereignty patrols.”