Naval Forces West (NFW) said on Monday that the number of foreign vessels found around Pag-asa Island in Kalayaan Islands Group has increased compared to the previous quarter.
“Sa ngayon po, na-monitor namin na medyo tumaas sila ng konti kumpara sa nakaraang quarter. Hindi po namin maibibigay ‘yung eksaktong bilang pero umaabot na siya ng more than 50 sa ngayon,” said Public Affairs Officer and Acting CMO Officer Lt. Ronnie Riel Grimpola,
As of June 23, 2019, there are already more than 50 foreign vessels around the area of Sandbar 1, 2 and 3 near Pag-asa Island which has totally increased in number compared to last month which only ranged from 23-28 foreign vessels.
“Wala pa kaming definite na masasabing dahilan kung bakit siya tumaas, so mahirap pa mag-speculate,” Grimpola stated.
The foreign vessels are composed of international cargo ships, Chinese fishing boats and Chinese Coast Guard vessels. There were also a number of Filipino fishermen but there were mostly Chinese fishing vessels.
“May mga unit tayo na naka-deploy at may mga assets tayo na patuloy na nagpapatrolya. Sila po ang constantly na nagmo-monitor ng situation sa KIG,” Grimpola said. “Maliban sa surface asset, meron tayong air asset, at meron tayong 9 island detachment and station. Sila po ‘yung magkakatuwang na nagbibigay ng information sa atin, so constantly po, 24 hours, 7 days a week, may monitoring po tayo,” he added.
Grimpola also mentioned that they are monitoring all the foreign vessels who passes through the area. He said, “Lahat ng mga dumadaan malapit sa ating teritoryo, atin po silang tinatawagan sa radio, china-challenge po natin sila kung anong intention nila, kung saan sila galing, anong nationality nila at kung saan sila patungo.”