The Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) has confirmed the increasing presence of Filipino fishermen on Pag-asa Island.
During the deployment of the largest Coast Guard contingent in the West Philippine Sea (WPS) from 12 to 14 May 2022, they monitored around 25 Filipino fishing boats conducting fishing activities on the island's vicinity waters.
The PCG checked their condition and provided relief supplies and COVID-19 kits to support their fishing operations.
According to PCG Commandant, CG Admiral Artemio M Abu, the significant increase of Filipino fishermen in the WPS proves that the PCG's intensified presence boosts their confidence and makes them feel safe and protected while fishing in these areas' waters.
"Through our continuous modernization, we ensure that our kababayans can freely explore our marine resources while protecting our marine environment for the future generations," the Coast Guard Commandant added.
National Task Force for the West Philippine Sea (NTF-WPS) Chairman and National Security Adviser, Secretary Hermogenes Esperon has underscored the need to encourage Filipino fishermen to continue their fishing ventures in the WPS.
He also noted that constructing a fuel depot and ice storage plant on Pag-asa island is the national government's effort to assist Filipino fishermen in the area.
Meanwhile, Department of Transportation (DOTr) Secretary Art Tugade has directed the PCG to guarantee that Filipino fishermen may enjoy the rich marine resources and be safe to come home to their families.
"The PCG will always be in line with the direction of the national government to protect the country's sovereign rights and safeguard every Filipino at sea," CG Admiral Abu ended.