Philippines asks China Coast Guard to stop harassing fishermen in West Philippine Sea
Philippine Coast Guard commandant Adm. Joel Garcia visits China Coast Guard Vessel 5204, which is in Manila for a port visit.

Philippines asks China Coast Guard to stop harassing fishermen in West Philippine Sea

Patricia Lourdes Viray ( - January 14, 2020 - 2:56pm

MANILA, Philippines — The Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) will push for a mechanism that will protect the safety of Filipino fishermen in the West Philippine Sea as they hold bilateral talks with their Chinese counterparts.

The PCG welcomed China Coast Guard (CCG) Vessel 5204 and personnel Monday morning for a week-long port visit.

PCG commandant Adm. Joel Garcia said this is the proper venue for the two countries to discuss the West Philippine Sea issue.

"Hihilingin po natin sa kanila na dapat mabigyan po ng karapatan mangingisda traditionally ang mga Pilipino na hindi hina-harass at hindi binibigyang takot," Garcia told reporters.

(We will ask them that Filipinos should be given the freedom to traditionally fish without fear of being harassed.)

The Chinese side, however, has yet to respond on the Philippines' proposition on the welfare of Filipino fishermen in the West Philippine Sea.

Garcia said the PCG is hoping for a "win-win" solution on the issue of fishing in the West Philippine Sea.

"Kami po ay 100% confident na magkaroon po ng win-win solution sa pag-uusap natin sa Chinese Coast Guard patungkol po sa isusulong naming agenda ngunit kung sakaling hindi po natin na-meet 100% ay hindi naman ito ang huling pag-uusap," the PCG chief said.

(We are 100% confident that there will be a win-win solution on our talks with the Chinese Coast Guard about our agenda but if we will not meet the 100%, this is not our last meeting.)

The PCG will also discuss mechanisms on hotline communication with its Chinese counterparts during the latter's visit to the country.

Garcia noted that this will be the first time that the PCG and the CCG will formally sit down and talk to enhance its relationship and share best practices on maritime affairs and law enforcement.

The two coast guards will also discuss the possibility of holding joint exercises on maritime security.

In June 2018, GMA News Jun Veneracion reported that Chinese coast guard vessels continue to harass Filipino fishermen in Panatag or Scarborough Shoal in the West Philippine Sea.

GMA News obtained a footage showing Chinese coast guard personnel going aboard a Filipino fishing vessel and taking away the catch of fishermen.

In March 2019, the camp of former senatorial bet Neri Colmenares released a documentary showing the experiences of Filipino fishermen in Scarborough Shoal.

The fishermen from Masinloc, Zambales detailed how the CCG personnel would seize their catch and shoo them away from the traditional fishing ground off the coast of their own province.

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