OVER PANATAG CLAMS | DFA ‘taking legal action’ vs. China
1 week ago
(APRIL 16, 2019) – The Department of Foreign Affairs will take “legal action” against China over its reported harvesting of giant clams in the Philippine-occupied Panatag Shoal.
“We just caught them doing that recently, filed a diplomatic note, and will be taking legal action. With our legal department now,” Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin, Jr. tweeted on Tuesday.
He was referring to a report on Filipino fishermen’s claim that Chinese vessels were “mass harvesting” giant clams from the shoal.
The country’s top diplomat earlier said he “fired off salvo of diplomatic notes” over the presence of Chinese maritime militia around Pag-asa Island.
Malacañang on Tuesday reiterated its “support” for the notes verbales filed by the DFA.
Although China has yet to respond to any of the protests, Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said “we will wait for the official response then act on it.”
Asked if President Rodrigo Duterte will raise the reported harvesting of giant clams during his Beijing visit next week, Panelo said “it is the president’s call.”
‘NOT THE RIGHT TIME’
In what can be considered as a turnaround, Locsin on Monday said this was “not the right time” for the Philippines to raise its disagreements with China over the West Philippine Sea row.
“This is actually not the right time to bring up disagreements over the South China/West Philippine Sea with both sides hot under the collar while a pissing contest is in full flower,” he wrote on Twitter.
This is actually not the right time to bring up disagreements over the South China/West Philippine Sea with both sides hot under the collar while a pissing contest is in full flower. But "swarming in unison" is definitely not traditional fishing under any definition.
— Teddy Locsin Jr. (@teddyboylocsin) April 15, 2019
The foreign affairs chief previously accused Beijing of “taking what is ours,” citing the 2016 Hague ruling which invalidated China’s nine-dash line claim over the heavily-disputed territories in the West Philippine Sea.