Duterte raises harassment of PH fishermen with Chinese ambassador
admin • June 12, 2018 • 4384
President Duterte speaks with Chinese Ambassador to the Philippines, Zhao Jianhua during the Independence Day celebration at the Aguinaldo Shrine on June 12. (Image grabbed from RVTM video)
President Rodrigo Duterte, for the first time since he assumed the presidency, led on June 12 the celebration of the proclamation Philippine independence.
Upon his arrival at the Aguinaldo Shrine, he was welcomed by members of the Diplomatic Corps including Chinese Ambassador to the Philippines, Zhao Jianhua.
The Chinese ambassador said President Duterte personally shared with him the concerns of Filipino fishermen regarding Chinese coast guard personnel who forcibly take their catch at Scarborough Shoal.
The Chinese official assured that investigation will be conducted and vowed to impose appropriate disciplinary action against the coastguards if proven guilty of misconduct. He also confirmed that Chinese coast guards are not allowed to confiscate the catch of Filipino fishermen.
Zhao reiterated that relations between Philippines and China remain friendly. — Rosalie Coz
The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) has launched online marketplace, ‘Fish Tiangge’ to help Filipino fishermen sell their products amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) crisis.
The said online shopping platform is part of USAID’s Fish Right project that would assist around 6,000 fishermen in the Philippines to connect with buyers in several areas including, South Negros and Visayan Sea in the Visayas region, and the Calamian Islands in Palawan.
US Ambassador Sung Kim said the program aims to provide income to fishermen affected by the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.
“By connecting fishers and consumers online, the U.S. government is helping to protect fisherfolk income and prevent a food crisis, while ensuring that conservation measures are not compromised in areas that are hard-hit by COVID-19,” he said. AAC
MANILA, Philippines – The Department of Labor and Employment (DOLE) said it has extended assistance to the five Filipino fishermen who survived the collapse of a bridge in Nanfang-ao, Taiwan on Tuesday (October 1).
According to DOLE,officials at the Philippine Overseas Labor Office in Taipei already visited the victims at the hospital and provided the necessary assistance they need.
The Filipino survivors are namely Julio Gimawa, Jason Villaruel, Allan Alcansano, John Vicente Royo and June Flores.
Meanwhile, the Labor Department have also extended its sympathies to the families of the two Filipino workers who died after the fishing vessel they were on was crushed by the collapsing bridge.
The casualties were identified as Andree Abregana Serencio and Gorge Jagmis Impang.
Another Filipino, Romulo Ilustrisimo Escalicas Jr., remains missing and authorities’ search and retrieval operation on site is still on-going.
“The Philippine labor office in Taiwan is also facilitating the repatriation of the remains of Serencio and Impang,” the DOLE said in a statement.
“On instructions of Labor Secretary Silvestre Bello III, all possible assistance will be extended to the family of those killed in the incident. Death and other benefits will also be provided,” the statement added.
Likewise, children of the victims will get scholarship benefits from DOLE.
DOLE said the Philippine Labor office in Taiwan is hands on when it comes to monitoring and extending all the necessary assistance to the victims and their families to recover from the tragedy.
Supreme Court Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio believes that the Philippines must set aside and reject what he calls as a “lopsided” and “unconstitutional” verbal agreement it forged with China.
The court official also expressed his agreement with Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin, Jr. when the latter said in an interview that only the Philippines is allowed to fish in Philippine waters.
Justice Carpio, in a statement, said there is no official policy that allows China to fish in Reed Bank (locally known as Recto Bank).
“Secretary Locsin knows that there is no recorded minutes of the so-called verbal agreement between President Xi and President Duterte allowing the Chinese to fish in Reed Bank in exchange for Filipinos fishing in Scarborough Shoal,” said Carpio.
The Senior Associate Justice added, “Any such verbal agreement, if confirmed by the Philippine government, will bind the Philippines to allow the Chinese to fish in Reed Bank for as long as China allows Filipinos to fish in Scarborough Shoal.”
Carpio also underscored the difference between Reed Bank which is 8,660 sq. km in area, and Scarborough Shoal which is only 150 sq. km in area; emphasizing that “Filipinos can fish only outside the lagoon of Scarborough Shoal, not inside the lagoon which is the rich fishing area.”
He also noted that China has the largest fishing fleet in the world with huge modern trawlers, comparing it with the Philippines whose Filipino fishermen only have wooden boats with outriggers.
“The Chinese can deplete the fish in Reed Bank very quickly,” he stressed.
Justice Carpio also pointed out that the verbal agreement, aside from being clearly against the Constitution, is so lopsided it should be rejected by the Philippine government.
Reed Bank is within the Philippine Exclusive Economic Zone.
“Under the Constitution, the use and enjoyment of the fish and other natural resources within Philippine EEZ is reserved exclusively for Filipinos,” Justice Carpio further said. (with reports from Mai Bermudez) /mbmf
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