Despite the Permanent Court of Arbitration ruling in favor of the Philippines in 2016, tensions in the West Philippine Sea (WPS) have not subsided. Dangerous encounters with Chinese vessels only continue to threaten fisherfolk’s livelihoods and the country’s sovereignty.
May 26, 2022
Then President-elect Ferdinand Marcos Jr. said he would strive for a bilateral agreement with China on the WPS dispute, establishing the incoming administration’s stance on the issue.
September 22, 2022
In President Marcos’s first meeting with US President Joe Biden, the two expressed their “support for freedom of navigation and overflight and the peaceful resolution of disputes” in the WPS. Biden assured a strong US–Philippines alliance.
November 21, 2022
A Chinese Coast Guard (CCG) vessel cut Philippine Navy towing lines to seize rocket debris retrieved from Pag-asa Island.
December 1, 2022
Marcos implored the need for a joint oil exploration of the WPS with China. A memorandum of understanding on joint oil and gas development in the WPS was signed with China in 2018.
December 20, 2022
China has been pursuing reclamation projects in the northern area of the Kalayaan Group of Islands, reported Bloomberg, which would be a violation of the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea. Beijing denied these claims.
January 5, 2023
Marcos met with Chinese President Xi Jinping on an official visit to China but mainly discussed investment pledges. Before his trip, he said he and Xi would “seek to resolve those issues (WPS dispute) to the mutual benefit of [the] two countries.”
April 3, 2023
The Philippines and the US agreed to add four new locations for the Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement in Cagayan, Isabela, and Palawan. This is part of a 2014 military pact that allows the US to construct and manage some facilities in Philippine bases to be used by both the Philippine and US military.
May 1, 2023
The US reaffirmed its commitment to the defense of the Philippines and supported the Philippines's aim for military modernization amid growing tensions in the WPS, said Biden during Marcos’s official US visit.
August 6, 2023
A CCG vessel fired high-velocity water cannons at a Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) vessel en route to the BRP Sierra Madre to deliver supplies to the troops stationed there. BRP Sierra Madre is a World War II US Navy ship that the Philippine Navy grounded on Ayungin Shoal in 1999 to assert the country’s sovereignty over the WPS.
October 2, 2023
An unidentified foreign ship rammed a fishing boat 85 nautical miles off Bajo de Masinloc, killing three of the Filipino fisherfolk aboard.
October 22, 2023
A military-commissioned Philippine ship on a resupply mission to the BRP Sierra Madre collided with a CCG ship due to the latter’s “dangerous blocking maneuvers,” said the National Task Force for the WPS.
Filipino journalists aboard the ship were able to report on the incident, disproving China’s frequent denials of these encounters.
November 10, 2023
Another Chinese vessel water-bombed a military-sponsored Philippine ship on a resupply mission to the BRP Sierra Madre.
December 5, 2023
Five Filipino fisherfolk were left adrift for almost a day after their boat was rammed by a Chinese cargo ship, said the PCG.
December 9, 2023
While on a mission to bring supplies to Filipino fishing vessels near Bajo de Masinloc, three civilian ships of the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources were water-bombed by CCG vessels.
December 10, 2023
A civilian resupply effort for the military troops stationed in the WPS was forced to turn around amid the constant shadowing of Chinese vessels around Ayungin Shoal.
December 18, 2023
Marcos continues to push for joint oil and gas exploration in the WPS with China, he reaffirmed in a regional summit in Japan. The Recto Bank is believed to have up to 5.4 billion barrels of oil and 55.1 trillion cubic feet of natural gas.
January 12, 2024
Filipino fisherfolk gathering seashells near Bajo de Masinloc were driven away by Chinese vessels.
January 30, 2024
Around 15 to 25 Chinese warships, 200 militia ships, and 10 to 15 CCG ships were found near Panganiban Reef. This came a few days before a scheduled resupply mission to Ayungin Shoal some 25 miles away.
February 2, 2024
A resupply mission made it to the BRP Sierra Madre, encountering no blockade from China this time, reported the AFP. ●
Feb 28, 2024
With the NPU Bill striving to privatize and commercialize PUP, student leaders assert budget increase to the university and academic freedom.
Feb 28, 2024
NUPL-Cebu called for an investigation into the nature of the death of Bilar 5, adding that they have received reports of possible violations of the International Humanitarian Law.