• PCG Commodore Jay Tarriela said the Philippines should "expose" Chinese aggression in the region
  • DFA Chief Manalo had previously revealed that Chinese aggression was a "daily situation"
  • A maritime law professor has called for "collective deterrence" to address China's operations

The Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) has launched a strategy to document and publicize aggressive actions by China in the West Philippine Sea (WPS), a government official said Wednesday.

The Philippines and China have been in a dispute for several years over territories in the WPS, including Ayungin Shoal, where recent incidents involving PCG ships and Chinese Coast Guard (CCG) vessels occurred.

As part of the efforts to address Chinese aggression in the disputed waters, the coast guard has intensified patrols in the WPS, and have taken steps to document and publicize assertive Chinese behavior in the area, PCG Commodore Jay Tarriela said, the Associated Press reported.

"I'd like to emphasize that the best way to address Chinese 'gray zone' activities in the West Philippine Sea is to expose it," Tarriela noted, adding that the PCG's exposure of Chinese assertive activities in the area "allows like-minded states to express condemnation and reproach which puts Beijing in a spotlight."

Tarriela further explained that by publicizing unedited videos and photographs taken by the PCG, "we can once again reshape public opinion to weigh things objectively based on facts and not just propaganda."

Commodore Tarriela's statements came as maritime law professor Jay Batongbacal warned that Chinese operations were becoming "more and more clearly hostile and aggressive," as per the Philippine Star.

Batongbacal recommended that the government coordinate with security allies around the world to encourage "collective deterrence" of Chinese aggression in the West Philippine Sea.

He added that the Philippine government should not be afraid of taking appropriate measures to address "threatening moves" initiated by China.

"There should be no gray area anymore," he argued.

Calls for stern action against Chinese aggression in the disputed region increased over the last few weeks after multiple incidents of harassment by the Chinese coast guard were reported since January.

Over the last two months, two incidents were reported in Ayungin Shoal, which China calls Ren'ai Reef. The first was in January, wherein Filipino fishermen alleged that a CCG vessel drove them out of the area and shadowed them as they left.

Another incident involved the CCG allegedly pointing a "military-grade" laser light on a PCG ship deployed at Ayungin Shoal for a resupply mission, resulting in the brief blindness of the crew.

Last month, Foreign Affairs Secretary Enrique Manalo said Chinese harassment of Filipino fishermen and the PCG was a "daily situation," according to the Inquirer.

At the time, Manalo emphasized the importance of discussions between members of the United Nations. Manalo said discussions about rules-based maritime order can help spread further awareness about the situation in the West Philippine Sea.

Pacific Vanguard (PV) 22
In photo: Royal Australian Navy Anzac-class frigate HMAS Perth (FFH 157) launches an SM-2 Standard Missile during a missile exercise conducted with Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Barry (DDG 52) as part of Pacific Vanguard (PV) 22 while operating in the Philippine Sea, Aug. 28. PV 22 is an exercise with a focus on interoperability and the advanced training and integration of allied maritime forces. Ensign Emilio Mackie/U.S. Indo-Pacific Command