China’s intrusion should top the agenda in the ASEAN meet – fisherfolk
Manila, Philippines – The fisherfolk group Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (PAMALAKAYA-Pilipinas) on Saturday urged Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayteno to make the sea row, particularly China’s unabated reclamation activities in the West Philippine Sea as the top agenda on the 50th Foreign Ministers’ Meeting of the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) which is currently being held in Manila this weekend.
The fisherfolk group raises doubt on the Code of Conduct in the South China Sea that the ASEAN delegates will primarily tackle in the series of meetings, saying the proposed framework is neither legally binding nor enforceable.
China has already reclaimed seven reefs in the West Philippine Sea; three of them now facilitate the installation of military facilities. All of the reclaimed reefs and islands are indisputably part of the Philippines’ exclusive economic zone (EEZ) and extended continental shelf (ECS) as stated by the 2012 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS). The 2016 international tribunal ruling strengthens our legal claim over the disputed maritime territory.
The group also urged Cayetano to retract President Rodrigo Duterte’s proposal to enter a joint oil and gas exploration agreement with China in the West Philippine Sea because it could lead to total sell-out of our sovereignty to Beijing.
PAMALAKAYA fears the proposed joint venture with China would lead to another deprivation of Filipino fishermen to their traditional fishing ground in the West Philippine Sea because the fishing area might be declared as off limits for fishing activities once the joint exploration takes place. Another concern raised by the fisherfolk group is China’s highly sophisticated drilling rigs and exploration equipments that could exploit our marine and mineral resources.
“We urge Secretary Cayetano to raise the issue of Chinese illegal occupation and reclamation in the West Philippine Sea. These are the opportunities that the diplomat official shouldn’t miss. We expect Cayetano to diplomatically and actively assert our sovereign and territorial rights before the ASEAN delegates,” Fernando Hicap, PAMALAKAYA Chairperson said in a statement.
Aside from China and the Philippines, other countries who have overlapping claims over the South China Sea are Tauwa, Brunei, Malaysia, and Vietnam. ###
Marine sanctuary might leave Scarborough Shoal wide open to foreign poachers –
Manila, Philippines – The fisherfolk group Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (PAMALAKAYA-Pilipinas) told President Rodrigo Duterte to reconsider his decision to declare the lagoon in Scarborough Shoal as a marine sanctuary for a reason to preserve the deteriorating marine resources in the fishing water.
Scarborough Shoal, which is 124 nautical miles away from the shoreline of the province of Zambales is part of the country’s 220-nautical mile exclusive economic zone (EEZ) and 150-nautical mile extended continental shelf (ECS). China takes its full control in the shoal on 2012 and aggressively prevented the Filipino fishermen from entering in the disputed waters. But after President Duterte’s state visit to China last October, Filipino fishers have now been able to return to their traditional fishing grounds.
Pamalakaya said declaring the lagoon as marine protected area might again result to depriving the Filipino fishers of their right to livelihood and fishing zones.
“Marine sanctuary might bring back the situation where Filipino fishers are not allowed to enter our own territory, but this time it will be our own law and government that will prohibit them, not China. Filipino fishers have yet to recover after years of deprivation and restriction from the West Philippine Sea. We fear that declaring it as marine sanctuary would pave way for another fishing blockade,” Hicap said.
Develop a West Philippine Sea utilization plan, President Duterte urged
Manila, Philippines – The fisherfolk group Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (PAMALAKAYA) on Sunday urged President Rodrigo Rodrigo Duterte to develop a utilization plan consists of detailed measures on how we should maximize our resources in the West Philippine Sea.
During President Duterte’s state visit in China last October 18-21, he didn’t raise the sea row formally but rather, scheduled a separate meeting that will discuss the issue of the territorial dispute.
90% of the South China Sea is being claimed by China through its 9-dash line theory, including the country’s 200-nautical mile exclusive economic zone (EEZ) and 150-nautical mile extended continental shelf (ECS). The long dispute poses threat among the Filipino fishermen as they are consecutively barred from entering in the Scarborough Shoal where China is building its military outposts through artificial islands.
“We are saddened for the President just let this important issue swift away without coming up with a formal agreement. He missed the boat when he had already come face to face with the Chinese President Xi Jinping yet he didn’t raise the issue of the sea row that for years now, has been affecting the livelihood of the Filipino fishermen,” Fernando Hicap, Pamalakaya Chairperson said in a statement.
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.