Close to 30 Chinese fishing vessels (CFVs) have been massing at several locations in the West Philippine Sea (WPS).

Wescom said aerial patrols conducted on September 6 and 7 spotted 23 CFVs in Rozul (Iroquois) Reef, five in Escoda (Sabina) Shoal, and two in Baragatan (Nares) Bank, which is about 100 nautical miles from Palawan province.

“The increased presence of CFVs raises concerns regarding the potential implications for the Philippines’ maritime security, fisheries conservation, territorial integrity, and preservation of the marine environment.” Wescom said in a statement.

“The repeated swarming incidents in both Rozul Reef and Escoda Shoal emphasize the continuous violation of Philippine sovereign rights and jurisdiction in its western border,” it said.

Aquilino said the MDB meeting “underscores the continued partnership and collaboration between the Philippines and the United States in enhancing national defense capabilities as well as the shared commitment to regional security.”

The last MDB meeting was held in Hawaii last year.