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PCG completes probe on Ayungin Shoal incident

THE Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) has completed its investigation into the October 22 collisions between Philippine and Chinese vessels in the Philippine-occupied Ayungin Shoal in the West Philippine Sea in the South China Sea.

In a radio interview, PCG commandant Adm. Ronnie Gil Gavan said the probe was completed on Friday, meeting a five-day deadline he announced after a command conference presided over by President Marcos Jr a day after the incident.

He said the investigation report is being reviewed by the Department of Transportation (DOTr). After the review, the report will be submitted to the Office of the President.

Gavan declined to reveal the PCG’s findings, saying, “It’s better if we wait for its announcement (by higher authorities).”

He said the investigation report included some recommendations from the PCG.

Gavan surmised a recommendation from the National Task Force for the West Philippine Sea (NTF-WPS), of which the PCG is a member, will be considered by the government before the latter takes further actions on the incident.

“This is a sensitive issue so let’s wait for the recommendation of the entire group,” he said.

Asked when the report will be submitted to the President, Gavan just said, “Maybe after the elections (Barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan Elections today), there will be an announcement to our countrymen.”

The President ordered the PCG, during last Monday’s command conference, to look into the incident as the government is taking the incident seriously, Defense Secretary Gilberto Teodoro Jr has said. Gavan vowed the PCG will complete the probe in five days.

The NTF-WPS has said the result of the PCG investigation might be used in pursuing a case against China before the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea.

On October 22, Chinese Coast Guard and maritime militia vessels made dangerous maneuvers against two Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) vessels and two military-contracted boats delivering supplies to Filipino troops at Ayungin Shoal.

One of the wooden supply boats, Unaiza Mae 2, and PCG vessel BRP Cabra were hit in the process by a China Coast Guard vessel and a China militia vessel during the maneuvers, causing damage to the