The Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) is currently investigating the recent incident at Ayungin Shoal involving a Filipino fishing boat and a China Coast Guard vessel (CCGV) that occurred on 09 January 2023.
On 20 January 2023, Filipino fishing boat (FFB) KEN-KEN boat captain, Mr. Lito Al-os, reported to the PCG that CCGV 5204 allegedly drove them away while fishing in the vicinity waters off Ayungin Shoal on 09 January 2023.
Accordingly, CCGV 5204 maneuvered towards FFB KEN-KEN at a distance of approximately 800 yards and deployed a rigid hull inflatable boat (RHIB).
The CCG personnel onboard the RHIB gestured for the Filipino fishermen to leave the area.
Consequently, FFB KEN-KEN altered her course and departed Ayungin Shoal.
However, CCGV 5204 continued to shadow FFB KEN-KEN while underway to Boxall Reef.
Upon receipt of the said report, the PCG Task Force Pag-asa immediately deployed additional Coast Guard vessels to strengthen its presence in the West Philippine Sea (WPS).
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.
As of press time, the PCG is collecting evidence and further information that will be forwarded to the Department of Foreign Affairs, (DFA).
If deemed necessary, the DFA may use the said report in filing an appropriate diplomatic action.
As per the directive of Department of Transportation (DOTr) Secretary Jaime Bautista, Coast Guard Commandant, CG Admiral Artemio M 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.