The Chinese Coast Guard (CCG) challenged BRP Gabriela Silang (OPV-8301) and BRP Sindangan (MRRV-4407) in West Philippine Sea while conducting maritime patrols and exercises on April 24 and 25, this was confirmed by National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon.
“We condemn in the strongest terms the shadowing, blocking, dangerous maneuvers and radio challenges conducted by the Chinese Coast Guard (CCG) against PCG vessels BRP Gabriela Silang and BRP Sindangan, during legitimate law enforcement patrols and maritime exercises while in the vicinity of Bajo de Masinloc (BdM) on 24-25 April 2021, as a violation of our sovereignty,” National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon said in a statement May 4.
BRP Gabriela Silang returned to Manila on May 3 after conducting patrols and exercises in WPS.
Esperon, chairman of the National Task Force on the West Philippine Sea (NTF-WPS), also said that the NTF-WPS welcomes the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) recent diplomatic protest against illegal Chinese activities in Philippine territory, and exclusive economic zone (EEZ) within the WPS.
On May 3, the DFA “protested the shadowing, blocking, dangerous maneuver, and radio challenges by the Chinese Coast Guard (CCG) of Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) vessels conducting legitimate maritime patrols and training exercises in the vicinity of Bajo de Masinloc on 24 to 25 April 2021.”
DFA added that “it has also protested the incessant, illegal, prolonged, and increasing presence of Chinese fishing vessels and maritime militia vessels in Philippine maritime zones. From 01 January to 18 March 2021, Philippine maritime law enforcement agencies monitored the continued unauthorized presence and activities of hundreds of Chinese vessels in the West Philippine Sea, particularly in the areas around the Pag-asa Islands, Zamora Reef, Panata and Kota Islands, Ayungin Shoal, Quirino Atoll, and Bajo de Masinloc.”