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International Business Times
International Business Times
Marvie Basilan

Manila Blasts Chinese Coast Guard After Filipino Fisherfolk Ordered To Return Collected Shells

In photo: footage from the Philippine Coast Guard shows a Chinese Coast Guard ship using a water cannon on a Philippine vessel near Scarborough Shoal. (Credit: AFP)


  • Malaya said the Philippine government was "alarmed" by the latest incident
  • CCG personnel allegedly prevented the boat from leaving unless the shells were thrown back to the sea
  • Scarborough Shoal was the site of a two-month standoff between China and the Philippines

The Philippine government criticized the Chinese Coast Guard (CCG) Monday after reports emerged over the weekend that the CCG ordered Filipino fisherfolk to throw back shells they collected in the vicinity of the hotly disputed Scarborough Shoal earlier this month.

"We were hoping that in 2024 the situation will be more peaceful but in this latest incident wherein there was harassment of our fishermen in the hands of the CCG, we are alarmed," National Security Council assistant director general Jonathan Malaya said Monday in a television interview.

"We condemn this latest provocative action on the part of the CCG against our fisherfolk," Malaya added.

His comments came following the circulation a video on of social media that allegedly showed the "harassment of Filipino fishermen" by the CCG at Scarborough Shoal, a strategic island feature in the disputed South China Sea that Manila calls Bajo de Masinloc or Panatag Shoal and Beijing calls Huangyan Island.

Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) spokesperson Jay Tarriela said Sunday that the PCG was able to reach Zambales resident Jack Tabat, who said the video was taken from their fishing boat, the FB Legendary Jo, on Jan. 12.

Tabat revealed that "Filipino fishermen who were collecting sea shells near the south entrance of the BDM (Bajo de Masinloc) experienced harassment from the China Coast Guard," Tarriela wrote on X (formerly Twitter). He said the fisherfolk "were instructed to return the shells they had gathered to the sea and were subsequently driven away" by five CCG personnel onboard a rubber boat.

One of the CCG personnel allegedly grabbed the fishing boat, "preventing it from departing unless the fishermen threw back their gathered sea shells into the sea," Tarriela added.

The FB Legendary Jo has yet to return to shore. The PCG said it intends to gather more information from other crew members of the fishing boat once it arrives.

The latest incident comes just days after Beijing and Manila engaged in a war of words over Philippine President Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr.'s congratulatory message for Taiwanese president-elect Lai Ching-te last week.

Chinese ministry spokesperson Mao Ning urged the Philippine leader to "read more" about the Taiwan issue and accused him of sending the "wrong signal" to supporters of Taiwan independence.

Philippine Secretary of National Defense Gilberto Teodoro shot back shortly after, calling out Mao for her "gutter level talk" against Marcos Jr.

Scarborough Shoal is just one of the island features in the waters between the Philippines and China that the two nations claim, and this is not the first time the CCG was reported to have blocked the activities of Filipino fishermen in the area as the last reported incident in the area was in October.

The marine-rich atoll was the site of a standoff between China and the Philippines, when the Asian neighbors' warships had an unarmed face-off near the shoal that lasted for more than two months.

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