A 44 meter multi-role response vessel named BRP Tubbataha is the newest addition to the Philippine Coastguard’s fleet.
The vessel is just one of ten that the government acquired from Japan.
The brand new vessel will be utilized for search and rescue operations, marine environmental protection and patrol of the West Philippine Sea.
Coastguard Chief Rear Admiral William Melad said they are regularly patrolling the West Philippine Sea and part of the job is to assist our fishermen in the area.
"It is our intention to protect them and to allow them to be able to fish again within the declared traditional fishing ground in Bajo De Masinloc (Scarborough Shoal)."
He says, after the arbitral tribunal came out with its ruling it is now clear that the contested area is part of our Exclusive Economic Zone and so Filipino fishermen should not be prohibited from fishing in the area.
It can be recalled that in the past the Chinese Coastguard has been driving away our fishermen from the West Philippine Sea.
“That is normal even in the past (passing of a Chinese vessel)...It is part of our exclusive economic zone, we could go there anytime we want to go." Melad said.
In one of PCG’s regular patrols in the region, it had a close encounter with a Chinese Coastguard vessel.
It happened a few weeks ago 70 to 100 nautical miles from Subic.
No confrontation or any untoward incident happened during the encounter.