PCG: ‘Technology’ forces China to change tactics
BY FRANCO JOSE BAROÑA
The Manila Times
THE Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) succeeded in countering China’s “bullying” tactics in the West Philippine Sea, forcing the rising world power to “modify its actions” thanks to the “power of technology.” Commo. Jay Tarriela, PCG spokesman on the West Philippine Sea, pointed out on Sunday that despite having lesser technological capabilities compared to China, the Philippines was able to compel China to change its tactics. “We firmly believe that the power of technology cannot be solely measured by its sophistication or complexity, but rather by the positive impact it brings to the world,” Tarriela said. Furthermore, he noted that it is crucial to emphasize that the decision of the Philippine government to use technology “empowers the Filipino people by providing them with accurate information and enabling them to combat fake news and false narratives that have plagued our nation in recent years.” “With access to the right information, I firmly believe that the patriotism of the Filipino people will unite us as a nation once more,” said Tarriela. Earlier, he expressed his dismay over some doubts about the country’s capability to defend its territory. “We will continue to serve and protect our exclusive economic zone (EEZ), regardless of any external assistance. It is disheartening to hear doubts cast on our capabilities to carry out this duty without the support of other external actors,” said Tarriela after he was questioned by senators about the presence of the United States military during a resupply mission to Filipino servicemen stationed at the Philippine outpost in Ayungin Shoal. The PCG has been involved in the mission as escorts to civilian boats commissioned by the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP). Tarriela said the disputes in the West Philippine Sea “should not be framed solely as a competition between powerful nations, as this denies us our independence and disregards our legitimate interests.” “The Filipino people can rest assured that the PCG is resolute in our commitment to safeguarding our exclusive economic zone,” he pointed out. China has regularly harassed and blocked Philippine ships on resupply missions to Ayungin Shoal, which is within the country’s exclusive economic zone. Last month, a rotation and re-provisioning (RoRe) mission in Ayungin was not completed because China Coast Guard vessels and Chinese maritime militia ships blocked, harassed, and then used water cannons against PCG and AFP-commissioned boats. The next two missions, however, were successful, although Philippine boats still encountered harassment by Chinese vessels.