Pinoy fishing vessel in received warning shot by China

Philippines Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin on Friday said the reported firing of warning shots on a Filipino fishing vessel in a disputed area in the West Philippine Sea is "a cause of grave concern." In a text message to reporters, Gazmin said they "have not received any report yet," but expressed concern "if indeed this happened." A boat operator based in Palawan named Pasi Abdulfatah said the incident happened near Mabini reef, one of the areas being reclaimed by China, last Saturday. He said the incident involved one of the boats he owns.

According to him, his boat was fishing near the reef when a Chinese vessel fired a warning shot. It drove the fishermen away, transferring near an area occupied by Vietnam. Military officials said they have not received such report, and said they will verify it. "We have no report from them (fishermen). If ever you have a contact with the allegedly involved fishermen, please tell them to report to us, so we can assess the allegations," said Admiral Alexander Lopez, commander of the Western Command. AFP public affairs office chief Lt. Col. Harold Cabunoc added, "We will coordinate with the PCG (Coast Guard) to ascertain the veracity of the report about the alleged harassment by Chinese authorities." Abdulfatah said they are used to harassment from China so they did not report the incident to the military or to the Coast Guard.
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