April 30, 2021
MR. ANTÓNIO GUTERRES
New York, USA
Dear Secretary-General Guterres,
With the increasing aggression and militarization of China in the West Philippine Sea through the passing of Coast Guard Law, we humbly appeal for your intervention by openly denouncing and declaring the law null and void.
MR. FERNANDO HICAP
MR. SALVADOR FRANCE
MR. PEDRO GONZALES
MS. ANNALIE DELOS SANTOS
Coordinator, PAMALAKAYA – SOUTHERN TAGALOG
Chairperson, PAMALAKAYA – PALAWAN
MR. RONNEL ARAMBULO
Coordinator, PAMALAKAYA – RIZAL
MR. JERWIN BAURE
Chairperson, AGHAM – UP DILIMAN
Advocates Of Science And Technology For The People /
Resident Fisheries Expert, PAMALAKAYA
Petition to United Nations of Filipino Fisherfolks to Declare China’s Coast Guard Law on the West Philippine Sea as Null and Void
When China seized and occupied the Mischief Reef (locally known as Panganiban Reef) in 1995, the constriction of Filipino fishers’ movement in their traditional fishing areas noticeably took its turn for the worst. To present, China has intensified its aggressive occupation of the Philippines’ exclusive economic zone (EEZ), in spite of the 2016 ruling of the United Nations – backed Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) that invalidated Beijing’s “Nine-Dash Line” claim of almost the entire South China Sea, of which covers 80% of the West Philippine Sea.
As consolidation of its imperialist control of the West Philippine Sea, its naval vessels swarm the region, and on January 22, in the 25th session of the Standing Committee of the 13th National People’s Congress (NPC), it enacted the Coast Guard Law which Filipino fishers see as threat to livelihood and food security, and the country’s national sovereignty and national patrimony. The law empowered the Chinese People’s Armed Police Force Coast Guard Corps to oversee 11 aspects of the sea, such as patrolling Chinese-administered waters, reefs and islands (including artificial islands) and overseeing other vessels’ resource exploration, managing fishery activities. In its third chapter on “Maritime Security,” it provisioned to “take all necessary measures, including the use of weapons, when national sovereignty, sovereign rights, and jurisdiction are being illegally infringed upon by foreign organizations or individuals at sea.”
The measure is an open declaration of act of aggression against Filipino fishers in the West Philippine Sea, from where the former sourced for many decades, their livelihood and food needs. The Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (National Federation of Small Fisherfolk Organizations in the Philippines, Pamalakaya) believed that the said law is the armed component of China’s declaration of its newest administrative districts, Xisha and Nansha, under the Sansha City of Hainan province on April 18, 2020. The group asserts that both measures are baseless and violative of the Philippine constitution and existing laws, and perverse of the 2016 PCA ruling.
China’s Xisha district actually covered the Panatag Shoal (Scarborough), as part of the Zhongsha islands, with the name Huangyan Dao; while the Nansha district management area covered parts of the Kalayaan Island Group:
• Kagitingan Reef (Fiery Cross) as Yongshu Residential Community,
• Panganiban Reef (Mischief) as Meiji Jiao,
• Zamora Reef (Subi) as Zhuibi Jiao,
• Calderon Reef (Cuarteron) as Huayang Jiao,
• Johnson South Reef as Chigua Jiao;
As early as February this year, based on various reports, more than 250 Chinese vessels have occupied Julian Felipe Reef (Whitsun), which is around 175 nautical miles away from the southern part of Palawan province, and 70 nautical miles away from Pag-asa Island (Thitu) of Kalayaan town, also part of Palawan. Late March, the foreign vessels in the West Philippine Sea, has scattered around Zamora Reef, Kagitingan Reef, Chigua Reef and Panganiban Reef. The law, presumed to be implemented on the newly-established Chinese administrative areas shall lead to more abuses against Filipino fishers, since they were in the past. In June 2018 in Panatag Shoal, the Chinese Coast Guard were videotaped taking the catch of Filipino fishers. Pamalakaya also asserts that its presence enabled the audacious ramming of the F/B Gem-ver 1 by the Chinese fishing militia vessel Yuemaobinyu 42212 in June 2019.
The international community has been aware of Chinese imperialist aggression and plunder in the West Philippine Sea and this generates fear and intimidation among helpless Filipino fishers. Thus, we humbly appeal to the United Nations to declare China’s Coast Guard Law as null and void on the basis of its violation to the principles of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) and the 2016 PCA ruling.
This appeal is in the framework of our legitimate call for a peaceful, diplomatic, and non-military resolution on the Chinese imperialist aggression and plunder, and upholding of Philippine national sovereignty and protection of national patrimony.
Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas
(National Federation of Small Fisherfolk Organizations in the Philippines, Pamalakaya)
Copy of the petition letter April 30, 2021 Pamalakaya Ph Petition Letter to UN Secretary-General re China Coast Guard Law