THE Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) has confirmed the increasing presence of Filipino fishermen in Bajo de Masinloc, Zambales.
During the intensified maritime operations from February 28 to March 5, 2022, the PCG has monitored approximately 45 Filipino fishing boats conducting fishing activities at the vicinity waters off Bajo De Masinloc.
Through the ongoing “Bayanihan sa Karagatan,” personnel of BRP Capones (MRRV-4404) provided Filipino fishermen onboard with relief supplies and COVID-19 kits to uphold their health and welfare at sea.
PCG Commandant, CG Admiral Artemio M. Abu considered the recent data as a significant milestone in promoting maritime security and maritime safety at the said vicinity waters located 124 nautical miles west of Zambales.
“Seeing more Filipino fishing boats in Bajo de Masinloc is a proof of our intensified efforts to safeguard Filipino fishermen who consider fishing as their primary source of livelihood. Through our regular interaction, we assure them that the PCG will remain active and present in the area. Lagi naming binabanggit sa kanila na narito kami para pangalagaan ang kanilang kapakanan at itaguyod ang kanilang kaligtasan,” CG Admiral Abu furthered.
In 2021, the National Task Force for the West Philippine Sea (NTF-WPS) reported several incidents when the PCG and the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) successfully implemented rules-based and peaceful approaches against suspicious foreign vessels and “shadowing” China Coast Guard (CCG) ships that were seen within the vicinity waters of Bajo de Masinloc.
NTF-WPS Chairman and National Security Adviser Secretary Hermogenes Esperon emphasized the need to encourage Filipino fishermen to catch fish in Bajo de Masinloc which is considered a traditional fishing ground.
Anchored on Sec. Esperon’s pronouncement, Department of Transportation (DOTr) Sec. Art Tugade has ordered the PCG to continue its intensified deployment of assets and personnel to protect Filipino fishermen.
“The Area Task Force – North of the NTF-WPS provides operational direction for Bajo de Masinloc and Philippine Rise. Our units will continue to augment and support the Area Task Force – North of the NTF-WPS to safeguard Filipino fishermen in the said vicinity waters,” the Coast Guard Commandant added.
“The PCG is here to be of service to the Filipino people by remaining steadfast in its duty to protect the country’s waters and safeguard every Filipino at sea. This is our commitment to the nation,” CG Admiral Abu ended.