By Priam Nepomuceno

PN spokesperson for WPS Commodore Roy Vincent Trinidad (PNA file photo by Priam F. Nepomuceno)

MANILA – The Philippine Navy (PN) will not be deterred in carrying out its mandate by China’s unilateral fishing ban that includes maritime zones where the Philippines has sovereignty and jurisdiction, an official said Tuesday.

“The PN does not recognize this provocative statement nor will we be deterred in performing our mandate of securing the welfare of Filipinos wherever he/she is – on land or on sea,” PN spokesperson for the West Philippine Sea (WPS) Commodore Roy Vincent Trinidad said in a message to reporters.

This came as China announced a fishing ban that takes effect from May 1 to Sept. 16 in areas north of the South China Sea north of the 12 degrees north latitude.

“Overall, (our) patrols have been increased in the entire WPS, to include BdM (Bajo de Masinloc), and our northern islands,” he added.

Trinidad said this increase in patrols took effect shortly after President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr.’s announcement that the country would be shifting from internal security operations to external defense.

This was further heightened after Defense Secretary Gilberto Teodoro Jr. earlier announced that the Armed Forces of the Philippines will be adopting the Comprehensive Archipelagic Defense Concept to further protect the country’s vast territories, including its exclusive economic zone, along with its interest.

From May 21 to 27, the PN also reported that 122 assorted Chinese ships were spotted in eight WPS features.

These vessels were detected and broken down into the following locations: Bajo de Masinloc, five China Coast Guard Vessels (CCGVs) and 14 Chinese Maritime Militia Vessels (CMMVs); Ayungin Shoal, five CCGVs and 17 CMMVs; Pagasa Island, one CCGV, one People’s Liberation Navy (PLAN) ship, and 34 CMMVs; Kota Island, one CMMV; Lawak Island, one CMMV; Panata Island, three CMMVs; Patag Island, two CCGVs and two CMMVs; Sabina Shoal, two CCGVs, four PLAN, and 30 CMMVs.

Meanwhile, no Chinese ships were spotted in the vicinity of Parola and Likas Islands and Julian Felipe Reef. (PNA)