Senator Ferdinand ‘’Bongbong’’ R. Marcos Jr. encouraged the Philippine government to drop its contentious state of mind towards the People’s Republic of China (PROC) on their clashing territorial and regional cases over a few islands, islets and shores in the West Philippine Sea. Based in a report from Manila Bulletin dated Sept 24, 2015
Marcos made the call, realized that it will worsen the situation and the relationship between China and the Philippines following the filing of a complaint with the United Nations by 16 fishermen from Pangasinan against China for allegedly harassing them while fishing in the disputed areas near Zambales.
He said the government, especially the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), ought to persuade China to take a seat and talk so that Filipinos can openly and freely fish in the disputed areas without being harassed or disturbed.
A law suit had filed before an international court that has jurisdiction over the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) by the Philippines against China.
China had wanted a bilateral approach with the Philippines while it kept on reclaiming several islands in the West Philippine Sea and construct runways and ports.
The United States had challenged China’s reclamation activities as it would inevitably disregard and violate international maritime laws on the free passage of airplanes and maritime vessels.
Sen. Gregorio “Gringo”” Honasan II had cautioned that there is a possibility that China would in the long run set up ”toll booths” for the entry of boats utilizing the Singapore-South Korea, Philippines and Japan route course.
Earlier, at the Scarborough Shoal or Bajo de Masinloc, one of the disputed territories, fishermen from Zambales also complained of physical harassment by Chinese nationals while they were trying to fish in the area.
Scarborough Shoal is under 200 nautical miles west of Masinloc, Zambales however is under 600 miles east of the easternmost area mass of China which is Hainan island.
“The primary thing in the plan is to request that China quit harrasing and stop pestering our fishermen on the grounds that they are simply fishing and have no other motive in going there; it’s international waters in any case,” Marcos said.
Marcos said while looking for an answer for the regional territorial disputes is a complicated process, the well being of the fishermen can and ought to be secured immediately.
“Let’s make an arrangement with China that we will talk about fishermen only and not the contentious issue of who owns the territories. I think China will agree to that arrangement. That’s one big step,” he said.
Images used credit to youtube.com
By. Robert Beerlak