PH fishers slam China’s act in disputed shoal, but worries come chiefly from US
By Gerry Albert Corpuz and Heki Beki Rosales
Manila, Philippines- The fisherfolk alliance Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya) assailed the Chinese government after Beijing defended the Chinese Coast Guard’s (CCG) use of water cannons to drive away Filipino fishermen from the disputed Panatag Shoal.
In a press statement, Pamalakaya said the act of the Chinese CCG is unnecessary and it will not help in seeking a peaceful resolution on the ongoing territorial dispute with the Philippines.
“We ask the Chinese government to be reasonable enough and respect the rights of the Filipino fishing people to explore the territorial waters of Panatag Shoal, which rightfully belongs to the Filipino people.
Among the contested territories in South China Sea, the Scarborough Shoal legally, politically, geographically belongs to Filipino people, and this is a fact and not a bluff. The rulers of Beijing should accept this reality and refrain from pursuing disturbing act that would endanger fraternal relations between the Chinese and the Filipino people,” said Pamalakaya vice chairperson Salvador France.
The Pamalakaya official warned China that its bullying of Filipino fishermen to pursue its highly questionable claim over Panatag Shoal might be exploited by the US government, which France said is the biggest threat not only to regional peace in East Asia and the Pacific but to world peace.
“Beijing’s foreign policy and aggressive escapade regarding its own claim over West Philippine Sea is being used by the US- the no.1 terrorist in the world and the puppet republic in Manila to justify the increasing presence US troops and put premium to program of of military aggression by Washington D.C in the West Philippine Sea and the rest of the region.
China is well informed about the sinister plan of US, but its action like the firing of waste waters on Filipino fishermen is not complimenting the collective interest of the people to get rid of US intervention and promote regional peace and fraternal relations through the exercise of political respect of sovereign and territorial rights, non-interference and mutual understanding among nations and people, added France.
Pamalakaya said while it strongly rebuke China’s insistence to control Panatag Shoal and the rest of the West Philippine Sea, what worries the group is the blatant and bizarre program of the US government and Philippine authorities to exploit the situation and use the incident in Panatag Shoal as a pretext to more US military intervention and wars of aggression in the region.
” China did a wrong move based on wrong notion that Panatag Shoal and the rest of South China Sea belongs to Beijing, but what worries us more is the US agenda that is extremely fatal and catastrophic to Filipino people and their Asian brothers including the Chinese people,” the group said.
The group urged Beijing to rethink moves like the water cannon incident last January 27 in Panatag Shoal and pursue diplomatic talks in finding solutions to the long-running problem in West Philippine Sea between China and the Philippines and among claimant nations in the region.
“China should be reminded that the Filipino fishermen are not enemies of Chinese people and that the principal enemy of the Chinese folks and the global people is imperial America, nothing more, nothing less,” said Pamalakaya.
Meanwhile, Pamalakaya lambasted President Benigno Simeon Aquino III and the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) for using small fishermen as political pawns and ready made collateral damage in current war with China over the dispute in West Philippine Sea.
It said the Washington controlled Malacanang is driving fishermen to test Beijing’s military might and aggressive patrolling of South China Sea by persuading them to fish at their own risk.
Pawns and collateral damage
” Our fishermen are being used as political pawns or ready made collateral damage to provoke Beijing. And the Aquino administration is doing it as if Malacanang is the front act performer for US military concert in South China Sea to ignite political-military clash with China. Our lives are offered at the altar of this US castigated wars of aggression in the region courtesy of the puppet republic in Manila,” said Pamalakaya.
Lt. Col. Ramon Zagala, spokesman of the AFP on Monday said the fishermen should continue what they are doing such as fishing in Scarborough Shoal despite reported incidents of Chinese coastguard harassment of local fishermen near the contested territory. Last year, the AFP recorded a dozen of incidents concerning Chinese coastguards harassment of local fishermen.
The Scarborough Shoal is 124 nautical miles off Zambales, which is well within the 200-nautical mile exclusive economic zone. In 2012, a standoff in the shoal between the Philippines and China sparked tensions after the Philippine Navy caught Chinese fishermen with illegally collected endangered corals, giant clams and live sharks.
Earlier, Pamalakaya pressed a Beijing-Manila joint investigation of an alleged incident involving Chinese coastguards firing water cannon at Filipino fishermen near the disputed Scarborough Shoal on January 27.
Armed Forces Chief of Staff Gen. Emmanuel Bautista in forum with the Foreign Correspondents of the Philippines (FOCAP) said the incident was relayed by small fishermen to the Philippine authority and that China still maintained armed Coast Guard and other vessels at Panatag Shoal, some 220 kilometer off the Philippine main island of Luzon.
Pamalakaya said the US wants the entire South China Sea in the name of oil and gas deposits and sooner or later, transform South China Sea as the US military naval base in East Asia and the Pacific with junior partners Japan and South Korea playing the support roles and the Aquino government essaying the role of a water boy for Washington DC for US and company of aggressors,