China barred PH ship from Pagasa Island – lawmaker

Magdalo party-list Rep. Gary Alejano on Tuesday claimed Chinese vessels barred a Philippine government ship from going to Pagasa Island and have deployed vessels one to three nautical miles north of the contested territory in the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea).
“I received information from my sources in the military, stating that since thrree days ago, China has deployed two frigates, one Coast Guard vessel, and two large fishing vessels, with their maritime militia, 1-3 nautical miles north of Pagasa Island,” Alejano, a former marine captain, said in a statement.
“Further, the report said, two days ago a Philippine government ship from BFAR (Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources) was prevented by Chinese fishing vessels from going near our sandbars located generally west of Pagasa Island, around 2-7 miles away,” he added.
Sought for comment, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) on Tuesday said it had yet to receive reports about the supposed presence of Chinese vessels near Pagasa Island, which is called Thitu Island by Beijing.
“We have not received any official reports of this from the Department of National Defense or other Philippine security agencies,” said spokesman Robespierre Bolivar.
Alejano urged the government to file a diplomatic protest.