Best of the Week


A rare embed with the Philippine Coast Guard allows team to document South China Sea faceoff


Chief correspondent Jim Gomez, photographer Aaron Favila and video journalist Bogie Calupitan witnessed and documented a high seas faceoff on April 23 between Chinese and Philippine coast guards.

AP was among only three foreign media outlets invited to join the patrol, thanks to Gomez’s monthslong source work. In early April, top officers hinted to him that they may allow a few journalists to embed during an upcoming patrol in South China Sea, and Gomez pressed AP’s case. His persistence paid off, getting the green light to join if the team could get themselves to the island of Palawan on short notice. AP was originally offered only two spots, but Gomez managed to convince them to allow a cross-format team of three. The ship had no room for guests, so the team slept wherever there was space — on the floor under tables or any corner where they could fit.

The Philippines and the U.S. both urged China to halt its aggressive actions in the South China Sea in response to the incident at the heart of the story.

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