PH coast guard should accompany Filipino fishers at West Philippine Sea

The Department of Foreign Affairs has already protested the new law passed by China that allows their coast guard to fire any ship or boat that they think is encroaching on the ocean they claim.

“After reflection I fired a diplomatic protest. While enacting law is a sovereign prerogative, this one—given the area involved or for that matter the open South China Sea—is a verbal threat of war to any country that defies the law; which, if unchallenged, is submission to it,” said Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr.

This is contrary to Locsin’s position two days ago where he said that country would no longer interfere with it, which Palace spokesman Harry Roque had previously said.

“Wala naman po tayong diplomatic moves na gagawin diyan (we will not do any diplomatic moves with that). It’s their law,” said Roque.

The entire West Philippine Sea is included in the territory claimed by China. It means they can fire at Philippine vessels on the islands of Kalayaan or Scarborough Shoal.

Also read: Chinese ship blocks fisher at West Philippine Sea

PH coast guard should accompany Filipino fishers at West Philippine Sea

According to maritime law expert Jay Batongbacal, this law is dangerous not only to the Philippine soldiers but especially to the Filipino fishermen who are constantly encountering the China at sea.

“Nakita naman natin ang mga nangyari in the past few years, nanghaharang, nangko-confiscate ng huli… Kung mangyari uli yan, at papalag ‘yung mangingisda, baka paputukan na sila kung pipilitin nila… Malamang ang mga fisherman pa ang maunang paputukan ng mga yan,” said Batongnacal.

(We have seen what has happened in the past few years, blocking, confiscating their catch. If that happens again, and the fishermen are resisting, they may be shot if they insist. The fishermen will probably be the first to be shot by those Chinese forces.)

Batongbacal believes that the Philippine Navy and the Philippine Coast Guard need to accompany the fishermen for protection.