Militant fishers and progressives protested at the Chinese Consulate in Makati on Monday in the fifth year of the awarding of the West Philippine Sea by the Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) that Beijing still insists on claiming.
At the same time, members of the Pamalakaya group carried a replica of the PCA document and attached it to a jet ski, which was parked around the consulate. This is in line with President Rodrigo Duterte’s failed campaign promise that he will jet ski and plant the Philippine flag at Panatag Shoal as a stand against China.
“This is neither a publicity stunt nor a bluff. These are Filipino fishers standing up against China and upholding our rights in the West Philippine Sea,” said Fernando Hicap, national chairperson of Pamalakaya.
At least 600,000 Filipino fishermen dependent in the West Philippine Sea are now affected by China’s “relentless piracy and destruction of the marine environment,” the group continued.
Fishers protest at Chinese consulate in 5th anniv of 2016 arbitral ruling
Up to P1.3 trillion is lost in the country annually due to reclamation and illegal poaching by the Asian giant in the said, according to data from the scientist group AGHAM.
Although the West Philippine Sea is the exclusive economic zone (EEZ) of the Philippines, the Chinese still patrol and fish in the area from time to time. This is happening while President Rodrigo Duterte and Chinese President Xi Jinping are close friends.
Although the Department of Foreign Affairs protested, Duterte has said several times that he will not send “gray ships” (Navy) there because it will end in war.
“Five years after our momentous arbitral victory, China continues to trample on our fishing rights in our traditional fishing grounds,” said Hicap.
“We vow to persist in seeking the dismantling of all Chinese military structures in our waters and the withdrawal of all its military forces from these artificial islands. No matter how powerful Chinese military is, it will prove no match to the united patriotic Filipino people.”