MANILA, Philippines – Malacañang on Thursday urged Filipino fishermen to stay in the Philippines’ traditional fishing grounds despite China’s imposition of fishing moratorium in the South China Sea.
Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque assured that Filipino fishermen would be protected against possible aggressions so they should not leave the contested waters.
He also said that the law of other countries has no “extra territorial application,” which means that it has no effect in Philippine territory.
“Wala pong extra territorial application ang mga batas ng mga dayuhang bansa, so diyan lang po kayo sa ating mga traditional fishing grounds,” he said, addressing Filipino fisherfolk.
“Nandiyan naman po ang ating mga coast guard upang pangalagaan din po ang interes ng ating mga mangingisda,” he added.
Roque made the statement after the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) on Wednesday said it has fired a diplomatic protest against China’s fishing ban.
The DFA said the Philippines does not recognize China’s unilateral imposition of a fishing ban in the area, which runs from May 1 to August 16, 2021.
The ban covers ‘waters north of 12 degrees north latitude’ in the South China Sea,’ which includes over which the Philippines exercises sovereignty, sovereign rights, and jurisdiction, the agency added.
“China’s annual fishing moratorium extends far beyond it’s legitimate maritime entitlements under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) and is without basis under international law,” the DFA said.
“China cannot legally impose nor legally enforce such a moratorium in the West Philippine Sea,” it stressed.
The DFA urged China to “desist from any action and activity that infringes on Philippine sovereignty, sovereign rights, and jurisdiction, in contravention of international law.” – RRD (with details from Correspondent Rosalie Coz)