HARASSMENT | Fishermen in Scarborough Shoal say China controls the area
7 months ago
JUNE 11, 2018 – Malacañang has admitted that there were incidents in the disputed Scarborough Shoal where the Chinese Coast Guard took the good catch of Filipino fishermen.
During a press briefing at the Palace, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque was joined by three fishermen, who recalled how Chinese troops boarded their boat and forcefully took their catch amounting to at least P4,000.
In return, the Chinese troops gave them noodles, cigarettes and drinking water worth only P200.
“Wala naman kaming magagawa kasi kumbaga, nakikisama muna kami dyan ngayon dahil andyan ‘yung mga barko nilang malalaki. Eh anong magagawa naming mangingisda doon kung magtititgas-tigasin kami doon? ‘Di para lang kaming lata lang doon na pinitpit,” Romel Cejuela, one of the fishermen, said.
Cejuela also shared how the Chinese Coast Guard snatched his colleague’s bow and arrow when they took their fish last December.
Recently, however, Cejuela said the Chinese troops did not bring their firearms anymore, leading him to believe that the incidents should not be classifed as harassment.
“Nakikisama na lang kami sa kanila kasi baka paalisin na naman kami pag hindi namin pagbigyan sila na kukuha ng isda… mabigat sa kalooban mo pero pilit mong tanggapin ‘yun dahil sila ang parang may power ngayon dyan,” Cejuela said.
Roque described the incident as “fish thievery” since the Chinese troops had no firearms.
(Scarborough Shoal or Bajo de Masinloc)
He assured the public that the government is not taking this sitting down. He added that there was already an agreement between Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano and Chinese Ambassador to the Philippines Zhao Jianhua regarding the issue.
“Inassure rin po ako ng Ambassador na hindi po ito polisiya ng Tsina, na nagiimbestiga ang Beijing, at kung mapapatunayan itong mga sinasabi ng mga mangingisda ay may kaparusahang ipapataw dito sa mga Chinese Coast Guard na ito,” Roque said.