Defiant “Kneel” to Hainan China order; Philippines’ Defense to provide armed escorts to Pinoy Fishermen Fishing West Philippine Sea

A view of Pag-asa Island of the Municipality of Kalayaan, Palawan. Photo source

Gov't troops ready to escort Pinoy fishermen at sea

FORT MAGSAYSAY, Nueva Ecija, Philippines – The government is ready to provide security escorts to Filipino fishermen who will operate in the West Philippine Sea as the government continues to ignore China new fishing policy in the disputed area.

Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin stressed that the Philippines would not comply with the rules set by China, which has been shoring up its presence in the region.

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We have the capability to secure them (fishermen). As said before, we would not follow their rules in our own territory, Gazmin told reporters yesterday on the sidelines of the anniversary of the Special Operations Command.

Why do we have to secure permission from other countries when they do not own our fishing grounds? he added.

When asked if the government would provide security to fishermen if the need arises, Gazmin said: Kung kinakailangan (If necessary).

China is seeking to enforce a new law requiring foreign fishing boats to seek its permission before operating in the West Philippine Sea.

The new law issued by the Hainan Provincial People Congress took effect last month and covered two million hectares of the area.

Officials said they would disregard the latest effort by China to assert its territorial claim.

The Philippines has warned China that the new fishing policy could escalate tensions in the West Philippine Sea.

It added that the fishery law, which reinforces China expansive claim under the nine-dash line, is a gross violation of the international law.

China nine-dash line covers more than 100 islets, atolls and reefs and overlaps with the claims of the Philippines, Malaysia, Taiwan, Brunei and Vietnam.

On Wednesday, Armed Forces chief Gen. Emmanuel Bautista said Filipino fishermen should not give in to China threats or intimidation.

He said the fishermen should stand up for their rights and go about their normal lives.

Gazmin said a superpower like the United States should stand up against China aggressive acts.

Someone has to demonstrate strength because China has been very aggressive lately. It started with the ADIZ (air defense identification zone), and now the fishing laws, the defense chief said.

Republican Rep. Steve Chabot said China is dangerously trying to take disputed territories by gradual force with the misguided hope that Japan, Southeast Asian nations and the US will just grudgingly accept it.- philSTAR


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