In his article posted on Facebook on Thursday afternoon, GMA News reporter Jun Veneracion said they were barred by the Chinese Coast Guard from doing a follow-up report on the Filipino fishermen whose catch were being taken away by the Chinese.
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Senators slam China Coast Guard’s ‘bullying’ of TV reporter
Cecille Suerte Felipe (The Philippine Star) - November 24, 2018 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — Senators urged the Duterte administration yesterday to file a diplomatic protest against the apparent bullying of a media investigative team by members of the Chinese Coast Guard at Panatag or Scarborough Shoal.

In his article posted on Facebook on Thursday afternoon, GMA News reporter Jun Veneracion said they were barred by the Chinese Coast Guard from doing a follow-up report on the Filipino fishermen whose catch were being taken away by the Chinese.

Sen. Joel Villanueva said the incident “is a good opportunity” for the Philippines to emphasize its claims over the West Philippine Sea.

For his part, Sen. Joseph Victor Ejercito said, “I am against the bullying of China ever since” and that he was not happy with what happened to the media team.

Opposition Sens. Antonio Trillanes IV and Francis Pangilinan said the actuation of the Chinese Coast Guard indicated “aggression” and that the Philippines should “not simply be as meek as a lamb in the face of these assaults on our sovereignty.”

Sen. Sonny Angara said “we should look for diplomatic ways to discuss and settle these issues and uphold the rights of our citizens in our EEZ or exclusive economic zone.”

Reports about the Chinese Coast Guard barring Veneracion and his team from GMA News’ Reporter’s Notebook came after Chinese President Xi Jinping’s two-day state visit here in the Philippines.

The Armed Forces of the Philippines, through its spokesman Edgard Arevalo, said, “We are not silent or simply closing our eyes to this incident” but “this problem is best addressed by the interagency efforts and the AFP is one of them.”

“So I would like to defer to the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA)for them to comment on this issue,” Arevalo said.

DFA Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. said the government is looking into the incident.

‘Shameless’

When they returned to Panatag Shoal early this month, Veneracion said they were accompanied by the same group of fishermen that sailed with them for their documentary shoot in May.

“Known as a fishermen’s haven, where catch is aplenty and waters relatively still, Panatag Shoal is 124 nautical miles off Masinloc, Zambales, well within the 200-nautical mile exclusive economic zone of the (Philippines),” he said.

“Our previous foray into the region brought to light the shameless act by some personnel of the China Coast Guard of taking the prized catch of Filipino fishers,” Veneracion posted.

While it is within the country’s EEZ, Panatag Shoal has been declared by the arbitration court as a traditional fishing ground for countries to share and which China clearly cannot claim as part of its territory.

Veneracion said as they sailed to Panatag Shoal, they spotted at least three vessels of The China Coast Guard on the horizon but thought everything would go on smoothly like the first trip.

But Veneracion said they were “in for a big surprise” because from a distance, they saw a China Coast Guard vessel “moving toward our direction as we sailed closer to our destination.”

He said the Chinese vessel tailed them and then confronted them when they finally caught up. There was no military or Philippine Coast Guard presence in the area, Veneracion said. – With Jaime Laude

BULLYING CHINESE COAST GUARD SCARBOROUGH SHOAL
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