Conducting their research in the West Philippine Sea, Filipino marine scientists said Sunday they also experienced intimidation from China after the recent incident at the Ayungin Shoal.
METRO MANILA, Philippines — According to Filipino researchers from the University of the Philippines Marine Science Institute (UP-MSI), Chinese vessels have chased them during their undertaking.
“Hindi naman kami deretsong sasagasaan o babanggain, pero alam naming sinusundan kami. Ang ginagawa lang naman namin, dumidistansiya lang kami,” said said Deo Florence Onda, a microbial oceanographer who is also part of the UP-MSI team, during a TeleRadyo interview.
(They don’t run over us or hit us. But we know that they follow us. What we do is we just keep our distance from them.)
“Dahil nga ‘yong barko ng MSI, mas mababaw ‘yong kaya niyang puntahan, ang ginagawa namin, pumupunta kami doon sa reef na mababaw. Dahil malaki ‘yong barko nila, hindi sila makasunod,” Onda recounted.
(Because MSI’s ship can navigate through shallow waters, we go there which the big Chinese ships cannot reach.)
According to Onda, researchers have also received calls from China’s coast guard, who say they were on Chinese territory.
Some trips, which took months to plan, were canceled owing to “security threats” in the West Philippine Sea, said Onda.
Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said earlier, the Philippines would not be prevented from exercising its sovereign rights in the West Philippine Sea. (RA/Headline PH)