MANILA - Following the recent incident at Ayungin Shoal, the Philippine Coast Guard's Task Force Pag-Asa said it has increased the number of its patrol vessels in the West Philippine Sea.
According to PCG, this is also to ensure the safety of Filipino fisherfolk, following the January 9 incident, where the Chinese Coast Guard reportedly drove away a Filipino fishing boat in Ayungin Shoal.
Department of Transportation (DOTr) Secretary Jaime Bautista and PCG Commandant CG Admiral Artemio Abu said the PCG will continue to follow rules-based approaches in ensuring the security of the country's Exclusive Economic Zones (EEZ).
Armed Forces of the Philippines Spokesperson Col. Medel Aguilar said the incident is now being attended to by the PCG.
ABS-CBN News has reached out to the Chinese Embassy to get its statement on the Ayungin Shoal incident but it has yet to respond.
The incident happened after Manila and Beijing agreed to establish a "direct communication line" in case of maritime incidents like this in the West Philippine Sea.
Beijing claims sovereignty over almost the entire area despite an international court ruling that its claim has no legal basis.
The Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia and Brunei have overlapping claims to parts of the sea, and Manila ordered its military last month to boost its presence after a report that China had started reclaiming several unoccupied land features around the Spratly Islands.
Taiwan also lays claim to parts of the sea.
Report from Robert Mano, ABS-CBN News