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PCG slams Chinese official's statement on laser-pointing incident

The Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) on Thursday slammed the statement of Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin in connection with the February 6 laser-pointing incident in Ayungin Shoal.

“Sasabihin nila na nagsisinungaling tayo. Hindi naman natin naging trabaho na gumawa [ng istorya],” PCG spokesperson for West Philippines Sea (WPS) Commodore Jay Tarriela told Super Radyo dzBB.

(They are saying that we are lying. It’s never been our job to make stories.)

Tarriela also said that it was hard to believe the Chinese official, especially after he started his statement with China's supposed “indisputable sovereignty” over the Ren’ai Reef (Ayungin Shoal).

“Sa ganyang panimulang statement niya pa lang, how can we even be convinced na paniwalaan siya? Alam nga natin na dagat na parte ng exclusive economic zone natin ito at kanilang kini-claim,” he said

(Just with his opening statement, how can we even be convinced to believe him? We know that this sea was part of our EEZ and they are claiming it.)

Wang at a press conference on Wednesday said that the Chinese Coast Guard (CCG) ship only used a “hand-held laser” to measure the distance and speed of the Philippine ship and signal directions for navigation safety.

He also denied that the CCG vessel directed lasers at the Philippine crew, adding that the supposed hand-held equipment does not inflict damage on anything or anyone on the ship.

Tarriela, however maintained that it was a military-grade laser, saying that if it was just a regular laser, it should be available in any market.

“Kung ang sinasabi nilang laser na 'to ay hindi nakakapinsala at ginamit lang nila pang-check ng speed ng barko, meron naman silang radar, bakit kailangan pa nilang gumamit ng ganitong ka-powerful na laser in terms of its intensity?”

(If they are saying that the laser was not harmful and they only used it to check the speed of ships, and they also have a radar, why do they need to use such powerful laser in terms of intensity?)

“Kung sasabihin din nilang hindi ito military-grade, nailabas naman natin ang videos at photos, nakita natin sa video natiin na tumatama diretso sa bridge ng barko,” he added.

(If they are saying that this was not military-grade, we already released videos and photos where we can see that the  laser light hit the bridge of the ship.)

On February 6, a CCG vessel pointed a military-grade laser against a PCG ship performing a resupply mission for Filipino troops stationed in Ayungin Shoal.

According to the PCG, the laser temporarily blinded some of the crew members onboard their ship.

President Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr has summoned Chinese Ambassador to the Philippines Huang Xilian to discuss the issue. Huang also met Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) chief General Andres Centino. The Philippine Department of Foreign Affairs, meanwhile, already filed a diplomatic protest against China over the incident. —VAL, GMA Integrated News