“The Philippine Coast Guard has verified and confirmed the reported incident involving fishermen in Bajo de Masinloc,” said Presidential Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. said on Monday. However, PCG is still verifying the actual number of fishermen who were hurt.
“The Chinese vessel was about 150 meters from our boats when its personnel fired a water cannon. One of us fell off the boat and sustained injuries,” Deogenes Corseles told Inquirer.net.
Armed Forces of the Philippines Chief-of-Staff General Gregorio Pio Catapang said escorts for Filipino fishermen is being eyed. Philippine Coast Guard will likely provide security for fishermen who were being driven out by China’s coast guard.
General Catapang said Philippine Navy ‘gray vessels’ may not do the job to avoid increasing the tension in disputed areas in West Philippine Sea as China is using ‘white vessels’ to assert its maritime claims.
“China prefers using its Coast Guard as the primary enforcer of its maritime claims. This approach limits the potential for confrontational incidents to escalate since most CCG ships are unarmed, and those that are have relatively light weapons,” Pentagon’s Office of Naval Intelligence said in a report.