Fisherfolk rejects “joint research” in Ph Rise
Manila, Philippines – “This seemingly “joint research” between our country and China in Philippine Rise is a pretext to Beijing’s another occupation activity in our marine territory. Just like what it did in the West Philippine Sea, we will soon be surprised that our resource-rich waters have been already reclaimed by China with its established defense facilities,”
This was the reaction of the militant fisherfolk group Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (PAMALAKAYA-Pilipinas) assailing the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) for allowing China, in partner with the Philippines to conduct an unspecified research activities in Philippine Rise (formerly known as Benham Rise).
Philippine Rise is a 13-million hectare resource rich underwater plateau located opposite to the disputed waters of South China Sea; it is endowed with abundant marine species like first-class tuna, and untapped mineral and gas deposits. It was confirmed by the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) as part of the Philippines’ exclusive economic zone (EEZ) in April 2012.
The fisherfolk group likened the “joint research” to the Joint Marine Seismic Undertaking (JMSU) in 2005 that led to the complete takeover of China to the large portion of Spratly Islands including the Reed Bank near Palawan and other parts of the West Philippine Sea that are now occupied by Beijing.
“This latest version of “joint research” is clearly a manipulative move by China for its new territorial expansion and usurpation. The research would give China access to potential resources and marine features of the rise, and then it would be followed by exploration and reclamation activities,” Fernando Hicap, PAMALAKAYA Chairperson said in a statement.
PAMALAKAYA said knowing China’s conquering capability, they could craft another historical document that will justify their illegal claim.
“We fear that their 9-dash line assumption would extend with more lines to cover the rise and justify their claim,”
“We will oppose another “joint research” in Philippine Rise with China because it is a culpable violation of our patrimony and tantamount to surrender of our marine territory and its resources. Instead, the government must pressure China to comply with the international tribunal decision and totally give up its irrational claim over our waters,” ended Hicap. ###