PH winning narrative war in West Philippine Sea – Coast Guard
MANILA, Philippines — The country is winning the narrative war in the West Philippine Sea, the Philippine Coast Guard’s WPS spokesperson, Commodore Jay Tarriela said during an INQSide Look interview on Thursday.
“I think in terms of the battle as to who really holds the truth and narrative, I think we have been very effective in doing that,” Tarriela said.
“So if our fight for sovereignty is [done by] telling the right story, dominating the narrative, I think we are winning…” he added.
Tarriela said the PCG’s initiative to allow the media to cover the regular resupply mission in the WPS means that the government has the “factual narrative.”
“The Philippines is a democratic country; we do not dictate to our journalists or the media whatever stories they are going to write,” Tarriela said.
“This is the reason why it is easier for us to say that we hold the truth and those stories the Chinese have been releasing are just made up or half-baked truth.”
China claims almost the entire South China Sea, which includes the WPS, disregarding an international tribunal ruling in 2016 that effectively dismisses its sweeping claims.
Practicing the country’s sovereign rights inside WPS, the PCG regularly conducts rotation and resupply missions to the BRP Sierra Madre, a Navy outpost grounded in Ayungin Shoal since 1999, to assert the country’s claim in the sandbank.
BRP Sierra Madre became the flashpoint of tensions between Manila and Beijing, and the local and international press witnessed the constant harassment of China Coast Guard (CCG) ships against Filipino boats bringing supplies for military personnel stationed in the area.
Several incidents like the CCG’s blocking and ramming, as well as its usage of military-grade laser and water cannons against Philippine vessels, drew international condemnation and even reignited the patriotism of Filipinos, according to Tarriela.
“The Philippine government cannot do this alone; [it] cannot just directly respond to whatever threat and aggression of China. The only way that we can, hopefully, make a deviation of the behavior of China is for the international community to persistently condemn and call out China’s aggressive and illegal action,” Tarriela said.
“We believe that with the right information, we can be able to unite our country since this information will also ignite patriotism among the Filipino people,” he also said.
“I think we already met this objective.”