Duterte: China taking of PH fisherman’s catch ‘not outright seizure’


President Rodrigo Duterte uses the term ‘barter’ to describe the uneven ‘exchange’ of goods between China Coast Guard and Filipino fishermen, a word also used by Chinese envoy

MANILA, Philippines – Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte downplayed the taking of Filipino fishermen’s catch by the China Coast Guard, saying it was a “barter” exchange and thus does not count as seizure.

“It was a barter in exchange for fish. The problem is the valuation…We could not understand each other here. It was not an outright seizure,” he said on Monday, June 18 to a room full of Filipino diplomats.

He was giving a speech at the anniversary of the Philippines’ Department of Foreign Affairs.

In using the word “barter,” he was echoing statements by Chinese Ambassador to the Philippines Zhao Jianhua. Zhao’s use of the term “barter” has enraged some quarters because of the unevenness of the exchange between Filipino fishermen and China Coast Guard.

The cigarettes, packs of noodles, and water from the Chinese are not the same in value as the thousands of pesos worth of catch taken from the fishermen.

Fisherman Roseller Latagen 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.