Magdalo: Chinese ships taking aggressive action against PH Navy on Pagasa

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Magdalo partylist Rep. Gary Alejano on Tuesday revealed that the Chinese Coast Guard and Navy, as well as Chinese fishing vessels, had been showing belligerence toward Philippine Navy patrol ships near Philippine-owned Pagasa Island in the West Philippine Sea.

The Magnificent 7 lawmaker and former Navy officer said he received a report last month indicating that the ships “have been taking aggressive actions against our Navy ship in Pagasa Island.”

“According to the information I received, a Philippine Navy ship, which was conducting regular troop rotation and mission, sighted a Chinese vessel lurking approximately 4 nautical miles off Pag-asa Island,” he said.

“A few minutes later, 2 more Chinese vessels were spotted heading towards the first vessel. Afterwards, Philippine Navy ship monitored a Chinese Coast Guard (CCG) vessel and a People’s Liberation Army-Navy (PLA-N) warship roughly 5 nautical miles off Pag-asa Island,” he said.

“The Chinese vessels proceeded to form a semi-circle formation around Pag-asa Island. Meanwhile, the Chinese Coast Guard and Navy vessels closed in and shadowed the Philippine Navy ship for as close as 2 nautical miles northwest of Pag-asa Island, near the sandbars,” Alejano said.

“The semi-circle formation and shadowing used by the Chinese vessels around the Philippine Navy ship displayed the ‘cabbage strategy’ being employed by China to control a specific area. The quick response of Chinese vessels upon the arrival of our Navy ship in Pag-asa Island suggests that they are permanently stationed nearby,” he added.

Alejano said this shows that the reclaimed areas by China in the West Philippine Sea, particularly Subi Reef, are “being used as forward operating bases. Again, confirming the militarization in the disputed waters.”

“The rapid militarization of the West Philippine Sea, lack of formal and transparent protests by our government, the reported Chinese-Philippine resource ventures – all of these point to a passive and subservient strategy by the administration,” he said.