National Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon the Philippines is not covered by the fishing restrictions in the South China Sea implemented by China from May 1 to August 16.
“This fishing ban does not apply to our fishermen and the NTF-WPS opposes China’s imposition of the same over the areas within the territory and jurisdiction of the Philippines. The NTF-WPS reiterates that our fisherfolk are encouraged to go out and fish in our waters in the WPS,” said Esperon.
The country’s maritime exercises will also continue to protect the Philippines’ territorial waters from illegal unreported fishing as well as enforce maritime security and safety, the official also noted.
“The BFAR is implementing its Integrated Maritime Environment Monitoring System (IMEMS) to counter IUUF, for monitoring of fishing vessels, and accounting of fishing catches and landings to ensure effective and efficient fisheries management,” said Esperon.
“The Government maritime patrols will be joined by the Philippine National Police – Maritime Group (PNP-MG) Regional Maritime Units which will be assigned to the Area Task Forces (ATF) West and North for involvement in seaborne operations,” he added.
The ATF-West regularly conducts joint seaborne patrol operations at Pag-asa Islands, Esperon said.
China’s fishing ban not applied to PH: Esperon
“These also include regular patrols to Pag-asa Cay 2 (Sandy Cay), contrary to claims that the Philippines has ‘lost’ this feature which is part of our territory,” he added.
The chairman of the National Task Force on the West Philippine Sea said the PCG and the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources found seven Chinese ships at the Sabina Shoal while conducting sovereignty patrols on April 27.
After the PCG vessel BRP Cabra “challenged” Chinese militia vessels, the Chinese ships, dispersed.
On April 29, the BRP Cabra returned to Sabina Shoal and again found five remaining Chinese militia ships. The vessels, later on, left the region upon arrival of the Philippine vessel.
Esperon also strongly condemn the Chinese Coast Guard’s “blocking and dangerous maneuver” against PCG vessels last April 24 to April 25.