PCG spox Balilo maintains China Coast Guard offered to help injured Filipino fishers

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By JOVILAND RITA, GMA Integrated News

Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) spokesperson Rear Admiral Armand Balilo on Tuesday said China Coast Guard (CCG) via radio offered help for injured Filipino fishermen whose boat exploded in Bajo de Masinloc.

Balilo made the statement when asked about conflicting details from PCG spokesperson for West Philippine Sea (WPS) Commodore Jay Tarriela regarding China’s action.

“Dito lang ako nag-rely sa report ng Captain ng BRP Sindangan. Help was offered during radio conversation. But they declined,” Balilo told GMA News Online in a message.

(I just relied on the report of the Captain of BRP Sindangan. Help was offered during the radio conversation. But they declined.)

“Tapos nung nakuha ‘yung mga fishermen, they said that China Coast Guard offered them help sabi nila di nila pinansin dahil takot sila at sinabihan sila nung sister ship nila na PCG mag-rescue,” he added.

(Then when the fishermen were rescued, they said China Coast Guard offered them help, they said they ignored it because they were scared and they were told by their sister ship that the PCG would rescue them.)

In Balilo’s June 30 statement, he said China Coast Guard (CCG) and People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Navy ships attempted to block BRP Sindangan during the towing operation for the half-submerged boat.

“The CCG and PLA Navy vessels stopped shadowing our ship when they were informed by the Angel of the Sea on board about the humanitarian mission,” he said.

“The CCG also launched two rigid hull inflatable boats (RHIBs) and offered to help the eight fishermen of FFB Akio,” he added.

Initial report from the captain of BRP Sindangan stated that: “…PLA 572 and CCG 3105 followed this unit and attempted to block us, even after being informed that we were responding to an emergency situation. CCG 3105 even issued a warning that they would arrest all the fishermen if we did not cooperate. Eventually, they acknowledged our radio message, stopped blocking us, and allowed us to approach the distressed banca. They offered assistance, which this unit declined.”

Tarriela said in a post on X (formerly Twitter), “the Chinese Coast Guard deployed two Rigid Hull Inflatable Boats (RHIBs) not to assist the PCG, but to obstruct and hinder their efforts in rescuing the two injured Filipino fishermen.”

The injured Filipino fishermen also denied that the Chinese rescued them.

GMA News Online sought comment from Tarriela on the matter but he has yet to respond as of posting time.

On June 29, two of the eight Filipino fishermen were injured after their fishing boat Akio encountered an engine explosion 17 nautical miles southwest of Bajo de Masinloc (Scarborough Shoal or Panatag Shoal).

The PCG deployed BRP Sindangan in the area and its nurses provided first aid to the two fishermen who suffered second degree burns from the explosion.—AOL, GMA Integrated News

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