– The Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) is committed to sustaining a presence in a disputed area of the South China Sea to ensure China does not carry out reclamation activities at the Sabina Shoal, its spokesperson said on Monday.

The PCG said on Saturday it has deployed ships to Sabina Shoal, where it accused China of building an artificial island, amid an escalating maritime row.

Since the ship’s deployment in mid April, the PCG said it has discovered piles of dead and crushed coral that had been dumped on the sandbars of Sabina Shoal, altering their sizes and elevation.

PCG spokesperson Jay Tarriela told a press conference on Monday the Coast Guard had to make sure it was able to prevent “China from carrying out a successful reclamation in Sabina Shoal”.The shoal, which Manila calls Escoda, lies within the Philippines’ exclusive economic zone. It is the rendezvous point for vessels carrying out resupply missions to Filipino troops stationed on a grounded warship at the Second Thomas Shoal, where Manila and China have had frequent maritime run-ins. – Reuters