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No proof Chinese fishing vessels in West Philippine Sea are with maritime militia —Coast Guard chief

The chief of the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) on Friday said there was no sufficient evidence that will prove that Chinese fishing boats in the resource-rich West Philippine Sea were part of the Chinese maritime militia.

"Wala pong ebidensya na sila (Chinese fishing boats) po ay hawak ng military o Chinese Coast Guard... wala pong ebidensya ang ating gobyerno na sila po ay nanunungkulan para sa military o Chinese Coast Guard..." Admiral Joel Garcia said during a press briefing.

"Ito po ay kuro-kuro lamang ng mga international reporters," he added.

Garcia said the matter would not be part of the discussion during the visit of the China Coast Guard next week as there is no enough proof about it.

In a certain instance in June 2019, a Chinese boat rammed a Filipino fishing vessel in Recto Bank. According to the Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative (AMTI), the vessel could be part of the Chinese militia.

Months prior to the ramming incident, China's Ambassador to the Philippines Zhao Jianhua said Beijing was verifying information about the reported presence of Chinese maritime militia vessels in the region.

According to retired Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio, the Chinese maritime militias are trained, equipped and organized by the Navy of the People's Liberation Army (PLA).

Carpio had said these militias are "under the chain of command of the PLA" and "can communicate at any time with their local PLA commanders."

The Philippine government had filed a diplomatic protest over the presence of the Chinese vessels. —LDF, GMA News