MANILA — There is a distinct possibility that the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) ships will be used to escort Filipino fishermen driven out from their fishing grounds by continued Chinese expansion in the West Philippine Sea.
This was stressed by Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) chief-of-staff Gen. Gregorio Pio Catapang during his 7 a.m. briefing Monday.
He added that this measure is being planned to prevent China from harassing peaceful Filipinos going about their business.
And when asked whether the Philippine Navy could be deployed for a similar mission, Catapang said this is unlikely as usage of “gray ships” (warships) could unnecessarily increase the tension in the disputed areas.
Tension has increased appreciably in the West Philippine Sea due to China’s ongoing reclamation efforts in Subi and Mischief Reefs.
Sources said that these reclamations are for airstrip and seaport purposes and could threaten nearby Filipino outposts in the Spratlys.