PCG notes increased presence of Filipino fishermen in Scarborough Shoal | Inquirer News

PCG notes increased presence of Filipino fishermen in Scarborough Shoal

/ 04:07 PM March 25, 2022

MANILA, Philippines — The Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) has noted an increasing presence of Filipino fishermen in the Scarborough Shoal, also known as Bajo de Masinloc in Zambales.

In a statement on Friday, the PCG said it has monitored around 45 Filipino fishing boats at the vicinity waters off Bajo de Masinloc, which is also known as Panatag Shoal, during maritime operations from February 28 to March 5.

Disputed areas in South China Sea

Scarborough Shoal is one of the disputed areas in the South China Sea. (Image from Agence France-Presse)

PCG Commandant Admiral Artemio Abu said this development is a significant milestone in promoting maritime security and safety in the said waters located 124 nautical miles west of Zambales.


“Seeing more Filipino fishing boats in Bajo de Masinloc is a proof of our intensified efforts to safeguard Filipino fishermen who consider fishing as their primary source of livelihood,” he said.

“Through our regular interaction, we assure them that the PCG will remain active and present in the area. Lagi naming binabanggit sa kanila na narito kami para pangalagaan ang kanilang kapakanan at itaguyod ang kanilang kaligtasan (We always assure them that we are here to protect their welfare and promote their safety),” Abu added.

fishermen scarborough shoal

(FILE) Fishermen from Subic, Zambales prepare their boats for another fishing trip to Scarborough Shoal. (Allan Macatuno)

Personnel of BRP Malabrigo and BRP Capones also provided relief supplies and COVID-19 kits to the fishermen through the “Bayanihan sa Karagatan” program, according to the PCG.

In 2021, the National Task Force for the West Philippine Sea (NTF-WPS) reported several incidents when the PCG and the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources successfully implemented “rules-based and peaceful approaches” against suspicious foreign vessels and “shadowing” China Coast Guard ships that were seen within the vicinity waters off Bajo de Masinloc.

NTF-WPS Chairman and National Security Adviser Secretary Hermogenes Esperon stressed the need to encourage Filipino fishermen to catch fish in Bajo de Masinloc which is considered a traditional fishing ground.

With this, Transportation Secretary Arthur Tugade has ordered the PCG to continue its intensified deployment of assets and personnel to protect Filipino fishermen in the area.


“The Area Task Force – North of the NTF-WPS provides operational direction for Bajo de Masinloc and Philippine Rise. Our units will continue to augment and support the Area Task Force – North of the NTF-WPS to safeguard Filipino fishermen in the said vicinity waters,” Abu further stated.

“The PCG is here to be of service to the Filipino people by remaining steadfast in its duty to protect the country’s waters and safeguard every Filipino at sea. This is our commitment to the nation,” the official has assured.


Group tells Masinloc mayor: Stand up for Zambales fishers

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TAGS: Bajo de Masinloc, PCG

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