Pamalakaya decries recent Chinese harassment of Filipino fishers in Scarborough
Manila, Philippines – The activist fisherfolk group Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya) condemned the recent harassment of Chinese Coast Guards on Filipino fishermen in Scarborough Shoal.
Citing the reports from the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG), Chinese personnel onboard a rubber boat ordered the Filipino fishermen aboard two fishing boats to leave Scarborough Shoal last September 6. Three Chinese rubber boats blocked the Filipino fishermen from fishing in Bajo de Masinloc.
Bajo de Masinloc (internationally known as Scarborough Shoal), a shoal that is about 124-nautical miles away from the coastline of Zambales is obviously part of the Philippines’ 220-nautical mile exclusive economic zone (EEZ) and 150-nautical mile extended continental shelf (ECS) as declared by the international law of the sea.
According to Pamalakaya, China’s another antagonistic approach against our fishermen is highly condemnable for this is a culpable violation of the international tribunal’s ruling favoring the Philippines’ claim on the disputed West Philippine Sea.
“Despite the international tribunal’s ruling favoring the Philippines claim over the West Philippine Sea, China consistently poses its irrational claim in our territory and harasses our fishermen who are making livelihood out of our own fishing grounds,” Fernando Hicap, Pamalakaya Chairperson said in a statement.
On July 12, the International Tribunal on the Law of the Sea (ITLOS) has favored the country’s claim in the West Philippine Sea and declared that China’s 9-dash line assumption has no any legal and historical basis. The international tribunal eventually ordered China to pull out all its troops and personnel in the disputed waters and let the Filipino fishers sail in its own territory.
Pamalakaya calls the attention of President Rodrigo Duterte to use his good relations and ties with China to settle and resolve the long dispute.
“Since President Duterte is on a very good terms with China, we challenge him to use it for a peaceful resolution in the sea row and ask China to respect our fishers’ rights in their traditional fishing grounds in the West Philippine Sea,”
“We are looking on how President Duterte would use his cordial relations with China to serve for the interests and gains of the fisherfolk sector especially in resolving the territorial dispute that adversely affects the Filipino fishers,” Hicap ended. ###