PH Coast Guard removes floating barriers in Bajo de Masinloc

Jacque Manabat, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Sep 25 2023 08:38 PM | Updated as of Sep 25 2023 09:30 PM

Photo courtesy of Philippine Coast Guard.
Photo courtesy of Philippine Coast Guard.

MANILA (UPDATED) - The Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) has removed the floating barrier that the China Coast Guard installed at the southeast entrance of the Bajo de Masinloc (Scarborough) Shoal. 

The agency said this move was in compliance with the instruction of President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. and the National Task Force for the West Philippine Sea (NTF-WPS).

Last week, PCG said they could only cut the floating barrier with approval from the national government.

The fishermen at the Bajo de Masinloc reported that the China Coast Guard installs the floating barrier whenever the Filipino fishermen's boats increase near the shoal.

Bajo de Masinloc, also known as Panatag (Scarborough) Shoal, is located 124 nautical miles west of Zambales and is within the country's 200-nautical mile EEZ.

Aside from hindering the Filipinos from fishing, PCG said that the floating barrier posed a hazard to navigation and was a clear violation of international law. 

They added that removing the barrier aligns with international law and reaffirms the Philippines' sovereignty over the shoal.

"The 2016 Arbitral Award has affirmed that Bajo de Masinloc (BDM) is the traditional fishing ground of Filipino fishermen. Thus, any obstruction hindering the livelihoods of Filipino fisherfolk in the shoal violates international law. It also infringes on the Philippines' sovereignty over BDM." PCG Commodore Jay Tarriela said in a statement.

The PCG adds that it remains committed to upholding international law, safeguarding the welfare of Filipino fisherfolk, and protecting the rights of the Philippines in its territorial waters.

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