While one hand was steering the boat, fisherman Larry Hugo tried to take a cellphone video on Monday to show people what he had experienced around Pag-asa Island in the West Philippine Sea.
“Marami akong kalaban sa dagat. Ayan oh. Mga barko ng Chinese ‘yan, sa unahan ko lang,” he said in the video.
Hugo was about to go to a sandbar near the island to fish when the Chinese Coast Guard ship approached and intercepted him.
“Hinarang nila ako, hindi ako makapasok sa sandbar 2. Lalayo muna ako,” he said.
Hugo said he has been living on Isla Pag-asa for 13 years but only now did he experience being banned from passing by the China Coast Guard.
Hugo is sure that he is the target of the ship.
“Ako talaga hinaharang nila. Kasi akala ko dadaan lang. Biglang huminto sa may harapan ko. Kinakabahan nga ako eh. Akala ko talagang madadali na ako doon. Ngayon lang nangyari na inaabangan kami sa may gitna na ‘yon, dati po pag papalapit sila, dadaan lang sa amin, hindi hihinto sa may harapan namin,” he said.
Hugo read the number on the side of the ship: Bow number 5103.
He just went home in fear but anger also formed in his chest.
Chinese ship blocks fisher at West Philippine Sea
“Siyempre nagalit tayo. Eh dati naman tayong nakapunta dyan, atin man ‘yan eh. Bakit ngayon babawalan tayong magpunta doon na samantalang diyan tayo nangingiasda, diyan tayo naghahanapbuhay? Parang na-trauma ba ako,” he said.
Hugo reported the incident to the AFP Western Command but no statement has been issued at this time.
Mayor of Kalayaan municipality Roberto del Mundo was also concerned about the incident but told the fishermen to avoid the sandbars where they are fishing.
On January 22, China passed a new law. They are now allowing the China Coast Guard to use weapons on any foreign boat or ship that will pose a threat to parts of the ocean they claim.
The areas they consider territory include the West Philippine Sea, where Isla Pag-asa is located.
According to the government, the Philippines will not take any action in this regard.