Tag Archives: Scarborough Shoal

China to PH fishers: ‘Filipino, go!’

PANGASINAN FISHERMEN RECOUNT ORDEAL IN HANDS OF CHINESE COAST GUARD INFANTA, Pangasinan—“Filipino, go!” Those two words continue to ring loud in fisherman Romulo Ferrer’s ears, coming from a Chinese coast guard vessel that threateningly approached the fishing boat that Ferrer and seven other fishermen took to Scarborough Shoal, also known as Panatag Shoal, in the West Philippine Sea where Ferrer had been earning a livelihood catching fish nearly half his life. Ferrer recounted the tense encounter in an interview with Inquirer. He said for more than eight days, he and his fellow fishermen on board the boat Joenel 3, fished near Panatag Shoal without any incident although their boat was within striking distance of a Chinese coast guard vessel, one of such ships guarding the shoal. “We knew that they (the Chinese) saw us,” said Ferrer. “But we assumed that, maybe, they would just allow us to fish,” added the 46-year-old Ferrer. He said Joenel 3 left the village of Cato here on March 4. By dawn of March 5, Ferrer said, he and the other fishermen set up fishing gear on a spot near Panatag Shoal. Read more: http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/775991/china-to-ph-fishers-filipino-go#ixzz43tNZrIYv

AFP is still verifying floaters found off Zambales’ waters — Palace

MANILA, Philippines – Malacanang on Thursday said the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) is still verifying the floaters reportedly found off Zambales’ waters near the West Philippine Sea. Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. said the AFP is also confirming the statement of Justice Antonio Carpio that China is actually dredging in 10 other reefs as part of China’s massive reclamation in the WPS. Coloma said if proven that China is dredging 10 more reefs, the information could be used to boost the Philippines’ case against China’s reclamation in the disputed territories. “If it will be verified, this will serve as additional information that we can cite in our petition in the Arbitral Tribunal of the United Nations because there are activities that manifest violations on the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea,” Coloma said.   Read more: http://www.interaksyon.com/article/115195/afp-is-still-verifying-floaters-found-off-zambales-waters—-palace

China claims U.S. ‘militarizing’ disputed sea

BEIJING – China’s Defense Ministry on Thursday accused the United States of “militarizing” the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea) by staging patrols and joint military drills there, ramping up the rhetoric ahead of a key regional security meeting in Malaysia next week. China has repeatedly urged Washington not to take sides in the escalating maritime dispute over the area, where the Asian giant last year stepped up its creation of artificial islands, alarming neighbours and provoking U.S. criticism. Washington has demanded China halt land reclamation and militarisation of the disputed area and pursue a peaceful resolution according to international law. China has been angered by U.S. navy and air force forays through waters it claims as its own, especially this month, when U.S. Navy Admiral Scott Swift said he joined a routine surveillance flight. The United States has also stepped up military contacts, including drills, with regional allies such as the Philippines, which also has claims in the South China Sea. The United States was hyping up the “China threat” and attempting to sow discord between China and other claimant countries, Defence Ministry spokesman Yang Yujun told a monthly news briefing.   Read more: http://www.abs-cbnnews.com/global-filipino/world/07/30/15/china-claims-us-militarizing-disputed-sea

PH has ‘Plan B’ in case tribunal won’t hear case vs China

MANILA – The Philippines has a “plan B” in case a United Nations arbitral tribunal will decide it does not have jurisdiction over the Philippines’ case to protect its sovereignty over islands in the South China Sea (West Philippine Sea). “We have a plan B, but we can’t disclose options at this time considering how sensitive this issue is,” Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) spokesperson Charles Jose said in an interview. Jose, however, said the country is confident the court will continue to hear the case’s merits. He said going to the arbitral tribunal is the best option to resolve the issue with China, which had questioned earlier the court’s jurisdiction over the Philippine petition. China has insisted the best way to solve the conflict is through bilateral talks. “We’re hoping that the court will see this. We’ve been talking to China since 1995 when they illegally occupied Mischief Reef and even during the Scarborough standoff in 2012,” he said. He admitted the country’s case is unique since it will be the first to be lodged before the tribunal with only one party in attendance. Read more: http://www.abs-cbnnews.com/focus/07/06/15/ph-has-plan-b-case-tribunal-wont-hear-case-vs-china

Filipino fishermen seek UN Commission on Human Rights intervention against China

Filipino fishermen who are residents of Zambales towns Subic and Masinloc, backed by lawyers Harry L. Roque and Gilbert T. Andres, are requesting the United Nations Commission on Human Rights to urgently intervene, remind, and direct China and its state agents to respect the human rights of Filipino fisherfolks over their traditional fishing grounds and safe refuge in the Bajo de Masinloc also known as Scarborough Shoal. “The perpetrators of the human rights violations are China’s state agents consisting of the members of the Chinese Coast Guard and other maritime agencies of China who patrol the fishing areas in Scarborough Shoal. These state agents of China are distinguished by their white or orange uniforms, and by the markings on the maritime vessels that they use,” says in the letter addressed to UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food and UN Special Rapporteur on the Negative Impact of the Unilateral Measures on the Enjoyment of Human Rights. It was stated in the letter that starting April 2012 Filipino fishermen have experienced physical harassment from the members of the Chinese Coast Guard and other Chinese maritime agencies.   Read more: http://www.angmalaya.net/nation/2015/06/24/11655-filipino-fishermen-seek-un-commission-on-human-rights-intervention-against-china

For some Filipino fishermen, the South China Sea dispute is personal

MASINLOC, Philippines — When nations duel over reefs, rocks and islets, people are going to get hurt, and in the South China Sea dispute, that means the fishermen here who once wrested a living from the contested waters. Gunmen in a Chinese speedboat drove Macario Forones, for instance, away from a favorite spot called Scarborough Shoal, and now his boat, the Marvin-1, sits useless in the grass and weeds above the high-tide line, and he sells someone else’s fish from a stall in the local market. Efrim Forones now dives for clams in the bay, making about one-tenth of what he earned when he fished the sea. Viany Mula says he was set upon with a Chinese water cannon when he ventured out to the shoal in his boat, and now he makes deliveries around town on a motorbike, barely earning enough each day, as he puts it, to buy the rice he needs. “I really want to fish the shoal,” Mula said one recent day. “It’s a very rich fishing ground. But that’s not possible now.” Read more: http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/asia_pacific/for-some-filipinos-the-south-china-sea-dispute-is-personal/2015/06/06/e77d373a-086c-11e5-951e-8e15090d64ae_story.html

Zambales fishers explore suit vs China

OLONGAPO CITY—Fishermen in Zambales province, who were driven away by Chinese Coast Guard personnel from the Scarborough Shoal, have consulted a lawyer about a lawsuit against China for disrupting their livelihood. “We would like to go back to the shoal. It’s only there that we can fish to sustain our families. Artificial reefs are not enough,” said George Pisalbon, 34, a fisherman from Subic town. Pisalbon was among a group of 20 fishermen, who used to fish near the disputed shoal, and who sat down with lawyer Harry Roque Jr. in a forum here on Monday. Roque said the forum he organized, called “Protecting rights of Filipino fishermen in Scarborough Shoal,” would gather first-hand information to support a case he would file at the United Nations Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (CESCR). “We will fight China but we will not use firearms or water cannons. We’re supported by our laws and human rights,” Roque told the fishermen. He said he would draft a complaint based on the testimonies of the fishermen, who, in several instances since 2011, were driven away by the Chinese Coast Guard using water cannons from the shoal, called Bajo de Masinloc by locals. “A strong piece of evidence that you have is the fact that you and your forefathers had been fishing in the shoal all your lives,” Roque said. The shoal, also known as Panatag, is 230 kilometers from Masinloc town. Pisalbon said the fishermen were ready to cooperate with Roque to bring their case to an international body. Msgr. Crisostomo Cacho, a Catholic Church leader in Olongapo City supporting the fishers, said China has been expanding its territory at the expense of poor Filipino fishermen. “The bounty of the ocean is for everyone. I don’t understand why China wants all of it,” Crisostomo said. Read more: http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/693495/zambales-fishers-explore-suit-vs-china#ixzz3bD7ULBF1

Chinese claim of South China Sea reclamation not causing damage unacceptable —DFA

(Updated 12:38 p.m.) The Philippines on Monday said it finds “unacceptable” China’s claim that its massive reclamation work in several disputed South China Sea territories are not causing marine environment damage, warning that that coastal states stand to lose $100 million annually from Beijing’s activities. China’s ongoing reclamation activities, Foreign Affairs spokesman Charles Jose said, “are causing irreversible and widespread damage to the biodiversity and ecological balance to waters.” “We cannot accept China’s claim that its activities has not caused damage to the ecological environment of the South China Sea,” Jose told a press briefing Monday. The Philippines refers to parts of the South China Sea as West Philippine Sea. More from: http://www.gmanetwork.com/news/story/468746/news/nation/chinese-claim-of-south-china-sea-reclamation-not-causing-damage-unacceptable-dfa

China wants to control South China Sea: Philippines

MANILA – The Philippines accused China on Thursday of seeking to take control of nearly the entire South China Sea with an expansionist agenda dominated by “massive reclamation” works. Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario said China’s efforts were aimed at undermining a United Nations tribunal that is due to rule early next year on a Philippine challenge to its claims to the disputed waters. “China is accelerating its expansionist agenda and changing the status quo to actualize its nine-dash line claim and to control nearly the entire South China Sea before… the handing down of a decision of the arbitral tribunal on the Philippine submission,” del Rosario told reporters. China insists it has sovereign rights to nearly all of the resource-rich sea, even areas approaching the coasts of the Philippines and other Southeast Asian nations, based on an old Chinese map with nine dashes outlining its territory. But the nine dashes are in some places more than 1,000 (600 miles) from the nearest major Chinese landmass and well within the exclusive economic zones of its neighbours. The dispute — with Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei and Taiwan also claiming parts of the sea — has for decades been a source of deep regional tension and occasional military conflict. Tensions have escalated sharply in recent years as China has moved to increase its presence and assert its authority in the waters. Del Rosario said those activities were continuing to pick up pace, pointing to what he described as Chinese ships ramming Filipino fishing boats at a shoal close to the Philippine coast in January. Read more: http://www.abs-cbnnews.com/nation/03/26/15/china-wants-control-south-china-sea-philippines