MANILA, Philippines – Another traditional Filipino fishing ground near Palawan has been taken over by China, wherein three to five ships continuously guarding to keep local fishermen away from the area.

The Quirino or Jackson Atoll, for a long time, has been the traditional fishing ground of the local fishermen from Palawan and nearby provinces but unfortunately is now effectively under Chinese control.

Filipino fishermen lamented the Chinese vessels would not allow them to come near or linger in the Jackson 5 and have pointed guns over the Filipino fishermen.

Filipino fishermen also call Jackson Atoll as Jackson Five, because of the existence of five lagoons in the area.

A fisherman from Mindoro Occidental who requested not to exposed his name said Chinese boats chased them away when they tried to enter the area last week.

“These gray and white Chinese ships, around four of them inside the lagoon, prevented us from entering our traditional fishing ground,” one of the fishermen said.

A Gray Chinese ship, meaning gray is the usual color of navy ships and white Chinese vessels stand for coast guard ships with white color have not left the atoll for almost a month now.

China is claiming almost the entire South China Sea, including the West Philippine Sea. Manila is contesting Beijing’s claim before an international arbitral court and is now waiting for the release of the tribunal’s final verdict in the coming days or a week. - Jason E.