‘2 bottles of water for P3,000 worth of fish in Panatag Shoal’


Filipino fishermen from Zambales province confirm that China Coast Guard habitually takes their catch in Scarborough Shoal

ZAMBALES, Philippines – Filipino fishermen from Zambales confirmed accounts that the China Coast Guard in Panatag (Scarborough) Shoal has been habitually taking their catch and paying them peanuts.

The fishermen appealed to the government to put a stop to the practice.

The military’s Northern Luzon Command (Nolcom) and the provincial government held a dialogue with the fishermen on Thursday, June 14, in the wake of an outcry over a video showing Chinese men boarding a Philippine ship to take their catch.

Roseller Latagen, 50, said the Chinese Coast Guard would take as much as P3,000 worth of their catch and pay them two small bottles of mineral water.

Floro Delegencia from Masinloc town said they’re also sometimes paid with bottles or beer or cigarettes. (READ: Carpio to Duterte gov’t: File new case vs China)

Panatag Shoal is a traditional stomping ground for Filipino fishermen especially those from nearby Zambales and Pangasinan but they were barred from the area in 2012 after the China Coast Guard took effective control of the shoal. (READ: A first hand account of the Scarborough Shoal standoff)

Filipino fishermen were able to return to the shoal under the China-friendly administration of President Rodrigo Duterte but experts said the video and further revelations show how China continues to have effective control of the area that was declared a “common fishing ground” for Filipino and Chinese fishermen.

The Permanent Court of Arbitration declared Scarborough Shoal as a rock with corresponding 12 nautical miles territorial waters. But it fell short of declaring which country has sovereignty over the maritime feature located inside the Philippines’ Exclusive Economic Zone due to lack of jurisdiction.