‘IT WAS A BARTER’ | Duterte downplays Chinese harassment of fishermen in Panatag
7 months ago
JUNE 18, 2018 – President Rodrigo Duterte has downplayed the latest reports of harassment by the Chinese Coast Guard of Filipino fishermen in Panatag (Scarborough) Shoal, saying it was just “a barter.”
Duterte said that the only problem was the valuation of the fish taken which was not equivalent to the goods given in return.
“It was a barter. In exchange for the ‘yung isda, eh ang problema, ang valuation. You do not have a way… In a barter, it’s wishful thinking, ah ‘yan the value of that. Hindi tayo nagkakaintindihan dito. It was not an outright seizure. We do not arrive at judgments just because there is a need to issue a statement. Tahimik lang ako,” Duterte said during a speech at the 120th anniversary of the Department of Foreign Affairs.
Incidents recorded on video last month by Filipino fishermen showed Chinese Coast Guard personnel taking away their catch. According to the fishermen, they lose more than P25,000 from a five-day fishing expedition because of these incidents.
Earlier, Chinese Ambassador Zhao Jianhua said that what transpired was barter trade and not harassment.
Lawmakers slammed the Philippine government’s inaction towards the incident.
Senator Bam Aquino insisted that if the government will not file diplomatic protests against China on the matter, the least it could do is to demand an apology from them.
Senator Richard Gordon, meanwhile, questioned the reliability of China as an ally of the Philippines saying that the harassment in Panatag was an “unfriendly act.”