Scientist group AGHAM – Advocates of Science and Technology for the People denounced the Chinese Coast Guard (CCG) for harassing Filipino marine scientists and attempting to prevent them from conducting research on Sandy Cay, a rock formation near Pag-asa Island in the West Philippine Sea[1].

“This is not the first time that the Chinese Coast Guard has harassed our Filipino scientists for conducting research in our own territory,” said Cleng Julve, Advocacy Officer of AGHAM. “In 2022, similar incidents of harassment of researchers were recorded near Panganiban Reef and Ayungin Shoal[2]. Even Filipino fishermen have reported instances of the CCG driving them away from Philippine waters [3]. This latest incident shows that these blatant violations of international law and affronts to Philippine sovereignty are sadly becoming the norm for our own citizens in the West Philippine Sea.”

Sandy Cay, located near Pag-asa Island, is part of the Kalayaan Island Group, which falls under the jurisdiction of the Philippines. However, China has persistently laid claim to nearly the entire South China Sea, including territories that are clearly within the exclusive economic zone of other Southeast Asian nations.

“AGHAM asserts that the harassment of Filipino scientists conducting research in these waters not only undermines Philippine sovereignty but also impedes crucial scientific efforts aimed at understanding and preserving marine ecosystems in the region. Such interference threatens the ecological balance of the area and hampers international collaboration on marine research,” said Julve.

The group called on the Philippine government to take immediate action to address these provocations by China, and to ensure the protection of Filipinos in Philippine waters, whether it’s scientists conducting research or fisherfolk pursuing their livelihoods. AGHAM also urged the international community to condemn China’s aggressive actions in the South China Sea and to support efforts to uphold the rule of law and respect for sovereign rights in maritime territories.



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