Fishers’ group Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (PAMALAKAYA) has prodded Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) to protect the Philippine marine territory against Chinese vessels.
In a statement, PAMALAKAYA said PCG “should strive for the expulsion of Chinese forces and dismantling of the reclaimed military island in Zamora Reef.”
Zamora Reef is 14 nautical miles away from Pag-asa Island.
“Enforcing the basic rules of engagement against any foreign vessels entering our exclusive economic zone is actually the mandate of our maritime law enforcers, which they should have done from the very beginning to prevent Chinese forces from occupying our territorial waters. Still, it’s credit where credit is due for driving away the Chinese naval ship,” PAMALAKAYA National Chairperson Fernando Hicap said.
“The news about PCG driving away a Chinese vessel appears like gimmick when the most serious incident of violation and threat to the national sovereignty and existing laws remain unaddressed,” Hicap added.
On July 13, a Chinese navy warship was forced to leave the Marie Louise Bank in El Nido, Palawan after PCG conducted a radio challenge while approaching and monitoring the distance of the warship.
The PCG has stepped up its maritime patrol in the West Philippine Sea amid the aggressive presence of Chinese vessels in the disputed areas, which is the Philippines’ exclusive economic zone.