News Release

PCG deploys BRP Teresa Magbanua to monitor China’s illegal building of an artificial island on Escoda Shoal

The Philippine Coast Guard (PGC) has deployed its BRP Teresa Magbanua to monitor the supposed illegal activities of China, creating “an artificial island” on Escoda Shoal in the West Philippine Sea (WPS) by destroying the coral reefs.

In a Saturday news forum in Quezon City, PCG spokesman for the WPS Commodore Jay Tarriela told reporters that they are committed to have a prolonged presence on Escoda Shoal for them to document China’s activities in the WPS.

He emphasized that the PCG has to work round the clock to stop China from its alarming activities. He said that Escoda Shoal is just 75 nautical miles away from the coastline of Palawan.

“The 244-meter vessels, BRP Cabra and BRP Malabrigo are also doing rotational deployment from Escoda Shola para talagang, we will be more aware kung ano ang activities ng Chinese Coast Guard and the Chinese Maritime Militia together with their Chinese Research Vessels and Marine Scientist na dine-deploy nila dito,” he said.

“Ang ginagamit nga kasi nilang pantambak dito sa areas na ito ay mga corals. So, ibig sabihin, they have to kill all the corals as many as possible for them to be able to use that as a foundation for their island reclamation,” he added.

“Dito, kumbaga nagsisimula pa lang [on Escoda Shoal]. So, kung sasabihin natin itong pagda-dump ng coral na ginagawa nila sa Sandy Cay has allowed them to expand itong land area, surface area na ito as artificial island,” he added.

Tarriela said that they have monitored a total of 34 Chinese Maritime Militia Vessels on Sabina Shoal with the People’s Liberation Army Navy vessels and helicopters and four other China Coast Guard vessels.

What the PCG is “extensively monitoring,” Tarriela said, is the three Chinese Research vessel, including its “mother boat” that receive data and information from two small boats swarming around Escoda Shoal apparently conducting exploratory activities.

Tarriela said that they have already sent rigid hull inflatable boats to intercept, or at least get closer to Chinese vessels. |PND