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PCG: Coast guards save lives, not create danger

by Kiko Cueto

THE Philippine Coast Guard The Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) took a shot at the Chinese Coast Guard saying that the ultimate goal of such a unit is to save lives rather than put them in danger.

In a statement, PCG Commandant Ronnie Gil Gavan said, they are starting to doubt the Chinese “real identity” as a coast guard unit, as it continues to conduct dangerous maneuvers in the West Philippine Sea.

“Chinese Coast Guard vessels “do not align with the universally accepted behavior of a coast guard,” Gavan said.

For many occasions now, Chinese vessels had continuously attempted to block resupply missions to the BRP Sierra Madre on Ayungin Shoal.

They are doing this by conducting dangerous maneuvers, one of them resulted ina collision with Philippine vessels.

“They are supposed to ensure safety of life at sea, but they are the one that deliberately violate the Convention on the International Regulations for Preventing Collisions at Sea, 1972 that the People’s Republic of China is also a signatory state,” Gavan said. 

He said that the COLREGs are a set of rules that maintains safe speed, keeping look-outs, and on steering to minimize the risk of collisions at sea.

Gavan made the statement as the PCG accused China of firing water cannons at civilian craft contracted by the Philippine military for the resupply mission.

The incident was similar in August, where Chinese vessels also used water cannons against PCG ships to try to deter a similar resupply mission.

“Our PCG skippers made sure that despite the reckless deployment of the CCG, we can still be able to prevent from collision happening,” he said. 

“Despite their provocative actions of deliberately preventing our vessels from completing the mission, the PCG has maintained their professional behavior and ensure that our firm resolve will not be triggered to escalate the tension,” he added. 

There are a handful of Filipino troops are stationed on the crumbling BRP Sierra Madre, which the Philippine Navy grounded on the reef in 1999 to check China’s advance in the waters.

China on the other hand had consistently claimed that they own the entire South China Sea, and has ignored a 2016 international ruling that its assertion has no legal basis.

They continuously claim that the Philippines is trespassing in their territory even if the islands and seas are well within the exclusive economic zone of the country.



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