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Zambales fishers report new harassment incident from China Coast Guard

Filipino fishermen in the West Philippine Sea (WPS) reported another harassment incident from the Chinese Coast Guard.

According to a Sunday "24 Oras Weekend" report, the CCG ordered the Zambales fishermen to return the shells they collected from the sea.

The incident occurred near the south entrance of the Bajo de Masinloc.

A video of the incident has been circulating online and the Philippine Coast Guard said it successfully identified the origin of the videos and have taken steps to gather sworn statements from the individuals involved.

"Mr. Jack Tabat from Zambales, has admitted that the video came from their boat, FB Legendary Jo. According to his statement, on 12 January 2024, Filipino fishermen who were collecting sea shells near the South entrance of BDM experienced harassment from the China Coast Guard," the statement read. 

While collecting shells, the fishermen said a China Coast Guard rubber boat with five personnel onboard approached them.

Four of the personnel chased the fishermen, and the Chinese personnel also held onto their boat so that they could not leave.

The Philippine Coast Guard is still waiting for the arrival of the Filipino fishermen.

GMA Integrated News is still trying to get a statement from the Chinese Embassy.

In September 2023, Filipino fishermen from Zambales' Masinloc town reported the presence of Chinese vessels in the West Philippine Sea that threatened their safety and livelihood.

Filipino fishermen reported several CCG harassment incidents in the past months.

Regardless of China's continued aggression in the WPS the PCG said it would not respond to these with the same level of aggression and use arms.

“Despite the harassment, despite the aggressive behavior of China Coast Guard, we're not going to respond with the same level of aggression," PCG spokesperson for the WPS Commodore Jay Tarriela said in December 2023.

The Philippines filed a diplomatic protest against China following its recent aggression at the Scarborough Shoal and Ayungin Shoal in the WPS. — Sherylin Untalan/DVM/BM, GMA Integrated News