Zambales fisherfolk resist China’s fishing ban
MANILA, Philippines — Fisherfolk in Zambales are resisting China’s unilateral fishing ban in the South China Sea, which encroaches on parts of the West Philippine Sea.
In a statement on Monday, Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya) vice chair for Luzon Bobby Roldan is compelling Filipino fisherfolk to defy the three-and-a-half month ban which started in May.
“Beijing’s unilateral fishing ban will be recognized as it is. Our fisherfolk members will never comply as we affirm that China has no political and moral ascendancy to impose a fishing moratorium in our exclusive economic zone,” Roldan said.
Pamalakaya lambasted China for using “marine biological conservation” as a pretext to the unilateral ban when they were the one “plundering” the maritime area.
“The audacity of China to impose a fishing ban on the pretext of marine conservation when it is the one plundering our marine waters through its aggression,” Roldan lamented.
“If there’s something that should be banned permanently in the West Philippine Sea, it must be Beijing’s destructive reclamation, artificial island-building, and massive poaching activities,” he added.
The Department of Foreign Affairs has filed a diplomatic protest against the fishing ban which Beijing rejected.
Pamalakaya further challenged the national government to mobilize local maritime authorities to ensure the safety of Filipino fishers.
“Our maritime authorities should heighten maritime patrols while the unilateral fishing ban is in place. This is to protect Filipino fishers from any hostile action of Chinese personnel,” said Roldan.
The Philippine Coast Guard earlier said that they will escort Filipino fisherfolk while they are out fishing in the West Philippine Sea.
The fishers’ group stressed that the administration of President Rodrigo Duterte and its “subservient foreign policies” encouraged China to intensify its aggression in Philippine waters.