PCG will follow communication channels about WPS ops —Abu
The Philippine Coast Guard said Saturday that it will follow proper channels in releasing any information on its operations in the West Philippine Sea (WSP), to avoid weakening the county's position on matters concerning foreign policy.
PCG Commandant Admiral Artemio Abu said he will no longer disclose direct to the public China’s acts of "aggression" in the WPS as it is already beyond [his] mandate to do so, and it might weaken the country’s disposition concerning the disputed territorial waters.
“‘Pag masyado tayo may nasasabi, ako, especially the commandant, nasa operation on the ground, masyado nababasa tayo ng mga 'kaibigan' natin... ire-reveal natin lahat eh masyado tayong nalagay na position na humihina ‘yung ating disposition, leverage sa issue,” Abu said.
[If the PCG talked too much to the media about our operations in the disputed sea, our adversaries could easily size up our every move. And this might result in the weakening of our disposition and leverage on the issue].
Moreover, Admiral Abu said, “I might cross the border beyond the mandate of my office.”
“Gustong gusto ko po na mag provide ng mga information na makakatulong sa ating lahat especially sa ating mahal na inang bayan pero ‘yung particular diyan sa West Philippine Sea issue, hindi po ako, commandant ng Coast Guard ang sole authority o ang may tamang mandato para magsalita dyan sa issue natin sa West Philippine Sea,” Abu said during the Saturday News Forum in Quezon City.
[I want to provide all particular information to the public, but it is beyond my mandate. The PCG has no authority on that].
But Abu said, the PCG will still provide the media with press releases regarding the situation in the WPS -- “duly vetted by the Task Force [on the WPS] and the National Security Adviser."
“So ‘yun na lang hintayin natin… we are giving you naman any information, any press releases. Everybody will be provided,” he said.
Abu's statement veers away from the agency’s recent move to publicize China’s aggressive actions in the country’s maritime domain following the laser-pointing incident at the BRP Malapascua near the Ayungin Shoal, of which some members of the Coast Guard had suffered temporary blindness.
It released a video where a challenge from China can be heard telling the PCG to leave the area even though it is within the exclusive economic zone (EEZ) of the Philippines.
It also gave updates on the presence of Chinese maritime militia and coastguard vessels spotted earlier inside the country’s maritime territory.
China is claiming virtually all of the South China Sea, which overlaps with the Philippine EEZ, as well as with other claimant countries in the disputed waters, including Malaysia and Vietnam. —LBG, GMA Integrated News