Tarriela on China's attacks in WPS: 'There were reported incidents as numerous as now'
Tarriela on China's attacks in WPS: 'There were reported incidents as numerous as now'
Tarriela on China's attacks in WPS: 'There were reported incidents as numerous as now'
by Mary Antalan24 October 2023
Photo Courtesy: PCG

There were already incidents in previous administrations where the Chinese Coast Guard (CCG) and its maritime militia attacked boats of the country inside its own waters, Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) Spokesperson for the West Philippine Sea (WPS) Jay Tarriela said on Monday, Oct. 23.

According to Tarriela, PCG is now allowing the public to know the situation in WPS due to numerous incidents of collisions just before his assigned post.

"In the past months since we started the transparency initiative last February, it's because the national government is allowing the public to be aware of what's happening," he said in a press briefing.

When asked about the particular incidents, Tarriela said he could not speak for the matter as he was not yet in the position by that time.

The PCG Spokesperson for WPS clarified that there were only incidents, not escalations.

"There's no escalation, but as I mentioned, there is collision because of the aggressive behavior and dangerous maneuvering of the Chinese Coast Guard and Chinese part-time militia," Tarriela said.

For Tarriela, President Ferdinand 'Bongbong' Marcos Jr.'s directive to expose China's aggressive behavior in the WPS is the best way for PCG "to counter the gray zone in the WPS."

The recent attack by the CCG and its maritime militia happened on October 22, when China performed dangerous blocking maneuvers against the vessels of the PCG and the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) in its way for a rotating and resupply (RoRe) mission in BRP Sierra Madre, located in Ayungin Shoal.

According to Defense Secretary Gilberto Teodoro Jr., the incident occurred within the Philippines' 200-mile exclusive economic zone (EEZ), where China has no jurisdiction, authority, or right to conduct any operations.

The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) has summoned Chinese Ambassador Huang Xilian to the Philippines over the recent incident.

Different personalities inside branches of the government as well as the foreign embassies have expressed their condemnation of China's aggressive behavior.

Ayungin Shoal is inside the country's EEZ, located about 105 nautical miles from Palawan, but China is also claiming the shoal, which it calls Ren'ai Jiao.

Under the 2016 Arbitral Ruling, the major elements of China’s claim—including its nine-dash line, recent land reclamation activities, and other activities in Philippine waters—were declared to be unlawful.

The United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) on WPS ruled that the claim of historic rights to resources in areas falling within this invisible demarcation "had no basis in law and is without legal effect".

UNCLOS also upheld the Philippines' sovereign rights and jurisdiction in its EEZ.

However, China is still firm, calling the law "null" and "void."

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