Press Release
May 6, 2021

Hontiveros praises PCG, BFAR for driving out Chinese vessels in Sabina Shoal

Senator Risa Hontiveros on Thursday commended the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) and the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) for driving out Chinese maritime militia vessels in Sabina Shoal in the West Philippine Sea (WPS).

"I would like to applaud the PCG and BFAR for confronting the Chinese. Considering the escalating tensions in the WPS, I know it couldn't have been easy to challenge China's ships. This reassures me that indeed we have good officers on the ground and in the water, ready to do their duty," Hontiveros said.

"Sana mas dumami pa ang mga pagkakataong ito. Kitang-kita natin na ang papalayas sa mga barko ng Tsina ay pwedeng gawin at dapat lang ulit-ulitin. I hope this inspires more authorities to do the same," the senator added.

The National Task Force for the West Philippine Sea (NTF-WPS) reported that the PCG and BFAR were conducting maritime patrols in Sabina Shoal, when they spotted the Chinese vessels moored in a linear formation. The Philippine ship then issued radio challenges, telling the Chinese that their presence in Philippine waters was illegal.

The Chinese ships didn't initially respond, but the Philippine vessels decided to approach them, which forced the Chinese vessels to leave the shoal. The PCG returned to Sabina two days later, and again spotted five Chinese vessels, but they dispersed immediately upon the arrival of the PCG.

"We have the absolute right to stand our ground, and shoo illegal vessels away. The UNCLOS and our 2016 arbitral award at the Hague reaffirm our legitimate sovereign rights over the WPS. Tayo ang nasa tama, kaya tayo ang dapat maglakas-loob," the senator said.

"Patuloy pa nating suportahan at palakpakan ang mga ganitong aksyon ng PCG at BFAR. Our officers should know that we, Filipinos, will always stand by them. We know we own the West Philippine Sea; now it's time we act like we do," Hontiveros concluded.

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