The Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) is currently investigating the recent incident involving a Filipino fishing boat and a China Coast Guard vessel (CCGV) at the Ayungin Shoal.
The incident happened on January 9, 2023, according to the PCG.
The PCG said that on January 20, 2023, the Filipino fishing boat (FFB) KEN-KEN captain, Lito Al-os, reported to the agency that CCGV 5204 allegedly drove them away while fishing in the waters off Ayungin Shoal.
CCGV 5204 maneuvered towards FFB KEN-KEN at a distance of approximately 800 yards and deployed a rigid hull inflatable boat (RHIB), the PCG said on Saturday.
Then the CCG personnel onboard the RHIB gestured for the Filipino fishermen to leave the area.
FFB KEN-KEN altered its course and departed Ayungin Shoal.
However, while on its way to Boxall Reef, CCGV 5204 continued to shadow FFB KEN-KEN.
Upon receipt of the report, the PCG said its Task Force Pag-asa immediately deployed additional Coast Guard vessels to strengthen its presence in the West Philippine Sea.
"This is to protect the interest and ensure the safety of Filipino fishermen who conduct fishing operations in the said vicinity waters as their source of livelihood," it said.
The PCG said it was collecting evidence and further information that would be forwarded to the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA).
If deemed necessary, the DFA may use the report to file an appropriate diplomatic action, it said.
"As per the directive of Department of Transportation (DOTr) Secretary Jaime Bautista, Coast Guard Commandant CG Admiral Artemio Abu assured concerned Filipino fishermen that the PCG remains steadfast in its commitment to uphold rules-based approaches in protecting their welfare and securing the country's exclusive economic zones at all costs," the PCG said. —VBL, GMA Integrated News