AGHAM – Advocates of Science and Technology for the People supports our fellow Filipino marine scientists in their call to condemn the harassment by the Chinese Coast Guard (CCG) in the West Philippine Sea (WPS) [1].The treacherous acts of the Chinese authority towards Filipino scientists and researchers in our own territory are clear violation of our rights to develop our own resources according to our needs and for our country’s national development.

According to the report of the Asia Maritime Transparency Initiative (AMTI), the CCG harassed Filipino and Taiwanese researchers who were conducting joint marine research in the WPS from March 23 to April 9 [2]. The said collaborative research was duly granted all necessary permits by the Philippine government. Such research undertaking aimed to map the marine tectonic region, with particular focus on the Manila Trench. This research is important in understanding the said trench system, which can potentially impact the Philippines and neighboring countries in the region should sudden and large-scale movements occur [1]. The conduct of such research within our Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) is our sovereign right, and China has no business interfering with our marine scientists and research in Philippine territory. In fact, China has been doing illegal research in the country for years based on several recent publications conducted in islands within the Philippine EEZ despite not having been granted permits from the Philippine government [3]. Marine science research has been weaponized by China to bully Southeast Asian countries and further strengthen its illegitimate nine-dash line claim [4].

We denounce this recent act of aggression from China. Harassing scientists who are conducting research hinders not only development of the country but the whole Southeast Asian region itself. China should stop encroaching in the West Philippine Sea. At the same time, we demand that the Philippine government provide better protection for Filipino scientists and their collaborators who are conducting research in the WPS. As the country faces a continuous decline in fisheries production, it is only imperative that the government provide more support for marine science research in the WPS in order to assess its resource potential so that the country can benefit from it. ###


[1]  Joint Statement of the Geological Society of the Philippines and the Philippine Environmental Science Association on the pursuit of scientific investigations in the West Philippine Sea unhampered by overwrought political considerations.

[2] Philippine Star. (2022, May 27). In 3 separate showdowns, Chinese ships challenged research vessels in Philippine EEZ — think tank.

[3] Gu et al. (2015). Heavy metal concentrations in wild fishes captured from the South China Sea and associated health risks. Mar Pollut Bull 96: 508-512.

[4] AMTI. (2020, July 15). Science Journals: A new frontline in the South China Sea disputes.


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