Ph gov’t urged to defy Chinese fishing ban in South China Sea
Manila, Philippines — “They have no right and moral ascendancy to declare a fishing ban in the guise of conserving fish stocks in marine waters that they have no any legal claim, and they have massively destroyed through reclamation activities,” According to the national fishers group Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (PAMALAKAYA) on Monday, denouncing and rejecting the Chinese fishing ban in the South China Sea, that will from May 1 to August 16.
Part of its annual summer fishing ban to “conserve fish stocks”, Beijing vows to “arrest illegal fishers from Vietnam and Philippines”. The three-and-a-half-month fishing ban covers the Paracel Islands and Scarborough Shoal — parts of the South China Sea that Vietnam and Philippines also claim.
PAMALAKAYA said the international tribunal based in The Hague has already favored Philippines’ claim over the Scarborough Shoal, and other parts of the Spratly Islands being occupied by China.
“The audacity of China to accuse Filipinos and Vietnamese fishermen as ‘illegal fishers’, when they are actually the ones engaged in massive illegal, unregulated and unreported fishing in our seas,” Fernando Hicap, PAMALAKAYA National Chairperson said in a statement.
Government urged to defy
“The Philippine government should not waste time and wait until our own fishermen are apprehended by Chinese maritime enforcers. It should publicly condemn and protest this another Chinese bullying straight away. We have international and local fisheries laws with us that can be enforced to counter China’s aggression,” added Hicap.
He added that the government is acting like a ‘basket-case’, particularly the Department of Agriculture (DA) and the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) when it is clear on Section 3 of the Republic Act No. 8550 otherwise known as the Fisheries Code of 1998 that it covers the exclusive economic zone (EEZ) and extended continental shelf. Moreover, on Section 124, the department’s law enforcing units, the Philippine Navy, Philippine Coast Guard (PCG), Philippine National Police (PNP), PNP-Maritime Command, and law enforcement officers of local government units are all authorized to enforce the said law.
“The DA and BFAR have long neglected their duty in enforcing the fisheries law that would protect our marine resources and the livelihood of our fisherfolk in the West Philippine Sea,” added Hicap.
Lastly, PAMALAKAYA dismissed the purportedly tribute song entitled “Iisang Dagat” as a complete misrepresentation of China’s maritime strategy in the South China Sea, of which it is taking over islands and seas of its neighboring countries.
The music video, which earned a backlash, was released by the Chinese embassy in Manila. It features a song written by Chinese diplomat based in Manila, with Camarines Sur Vice Governor Imelda Papin as one of the performers.
“The song ‘Iisang Dagat’ is an insult to the countries that are being robbed of territorial seas and marine resources by China,” ended Hicap. ###