(From left) - Asian Century Philippines Strategic Studies Institute Vice President Ado Paglinawan and President Herman Tiu Laurel, respectively, together with moderator Daniel Long discuss about the floating barrier incident in Ayungin Shoal during the Media Forum in Popeye's on Saturday, September 30 in EDSA, Quezon City. – Photo by Perfecto T. Raymundo, Jr.

QUEZON CITY — ACPSSI president Herman Tiu Laurel on Saturday (Sept. 30) urged the Senate to conduct an investigation into the recent barrier incident in the Scarborough or Ayungin Shoal. 

Laurel presented and explained a balanced information about the recent incidents in the West Philippine Sea.

During the media briefing/zoom seminar, Laurel  cited the so-called barrier which were put out in the mouth of the lagoon of the Scarborough Shoal or Ayungin Shoal.

“That is not correct. That is not factual about the alleged barrier put up in the Ayungin Shoal,” he said.

He quoted PCG Adm. Armand Balilo as saying that the fishermen were not prevented from fishing in Ayungin Shoal.

Laurel stressed that the Ayungin Shoal is a protected fish sanctuary.

” Investigate Tarriela’s Moro-Moro (Ang katawa-katawang Moro-Moro ni Tarriela,” the ACPSSI executive said.

On Sept. 24 reports of sighting of CCG “floating barrier” were published in various Manila newspapers.

The PCG condemned the barrier on Sept. 24 and announced on Sept. 25 it would remove the barrier.

On Sept. 26 reports of the removal of the said barrier was tweeted by NTF-WPS spokesman Comm. Jay Tarriela accompanied by videos and some photos of the removal.

According to Laurel, the problem with Tarriela’s videos and photos is that it did not show any credible length of the barrier, his photos showed at best a six-meter length of rope with a few floaters attached and the underwater rope-cutting did not show a similar array of many floaters attached in neat sequenced and the rusted anchor with a few meters of rope is not part of a floating barrier system that’s meant to be temporary.

Our other questions were echoed by the Sept. 26 Associated Press report which cited, “… It did not provide other details, such as whether the entire barrier was removed, when the operation occurred and how Chinese Coast Guard ships, which have closely guarded the Shoal for years, reacted.”

The SCSPI Twitter account pointed out that “the Floating Barrier is temporarily deployed between two ships when needed, not quite like the one your guys removed.”

CCG “… Spokesperson Gan Yu said that on Sept. 22, a Philippine official vessel of the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources illegally entered the territorial waters near Huangyan Dao without China’s permission and engaged in provocations.

China Coast Guard lawfully took necessary measures, including verbal warnings and route controls, to effectively manage the situation. In response to the Philippine vessel’s intrusion into the lagoon, temporary blocking nets were deployed. Subsequently, on Sept. 23, these blocking devices were voluntarily removed, and normal control was restored.”

According to the ACPSSI, Tarriela did not even attempt to present evidence of the 300-meter barrier the PCG says it had cut.

Tarriela’s date for the cutting of the floating barrier was the 25th of Sept., the ACPSSI said.

Therefore, it added, the reason Tarriela’s diving boys cannot present any significant length of a floating barrier is that it had been removed on Sept. 23 by the CCG. 

In the reliable Manila Times Set. 28 report Tarriela was quoted as saying that “Filipino fishermen could only fish within the immediate vicinity of the Shoal because the lagoon has been guarded by Chinese vessel…” 

The ACPSSI noted that this commodore of the PCG is clearly ignorant of the Philippine government’s Executive Order also declaring that lagoon as a fish sanctuary. 

Laurel stressed that the Phillipines ‘ Moro-Moro pursuits may finally push China to withdraw economic cooperation from the country which had enjoyed a boom during the time of then President Rodrigo Roa Duterte. 

The ACPSSI called on the Senate to exert some of its zealousness in conducting investigations to launch an investigation of Comm. Jay Tarriela’s claim that his PCG conducting cutting operations on the CCG “floating barrier” and take his statement under oath to ascertain the veracity of this claim for which Tarriela offers no credible evidence.

For his part, ACPSSII Vice President Ado Paglinawan pointed out that the Philippines will push for a non-military solutions to de-escalate the tension surrounding the Ayungin resupply mission as ordered by President Ferdinand Marcos, Jr. 

“Effectively, he (Marcos) ‘civilianizes’ approaches in the South China Sea,” Paglinawan said. – By Perfecto T. Raymundo, Jr.