A PARTY-LIST solon has called on Malacanang to file a protest against China for the reported latest harassment of Filipino fishermen.
Magdalo Rep. Gary Alejano expressed disappointment over the latest harassment by the Chinese Coast Guard of the Filipino fishermen at a reef which is within disputed territory in the South China Sea.
A news report quoted fishermen from Mariveles, Bataan as saying that they were near Union Reef when a speedboat suddenly appeared and chased them away.
They said the speedboat, containing personnel of Chinese Coast Guard, circled their boats, fired a warning shot and shooed them away.
“I further demand that the country through the DFA which is the alter ego of the President file a strong diplomatic protest against China and demand explanation and apology to the country,” Alejano said.
“I condemn in the strongest terms the aggressive acts of Chinese Coastguard by preventing and firing warning shots to (drive) our fishermen off Union Bank in the Spratlys which is well within our Exclusive Economic Zone,” he added.
The solon said the Chinese Coast Guard’s action “constitutes a violation of our sovereignty and territorial integrity that we must all protect and defend.”
“Once and for all let us assert our rights by concrete actions on the ground. Otherwise, other countries particularly China will continue to abuse and disrespect us as a country,” Alejano stressed.
Last year, the Philippines won a case filed before the United Nations Arbitral Tribunal, which ruled that the country has exclusive sovereign rights over the West Philippine Sea (in the South China Sea) and that China’s “nine-dash line” territorial boundary is invalid.
The Tribunal concluded that there was no legal basis for China to claim historic rights to resources within the sea areas falling within the nine-dash line.
“Having found that none of the features claimed by China was capable of generating an exclusive economic zone, the Tribunal found that it could—without delimiting a boundary—declare that certain sea areas are within the exclusive economic zone of the Philippines, because those areas are not overlapped by any possible entitlement of China,” it added.
The Philippines filed its case in January 2013 following a tense standoff between Chinese and Philippines ships at Scarborough shoal in April 2012.