Fisherfolk group urges Marcos to protest Chinese rocket launch
OLONGAPO CITY — The fisherfolk group Pamalakaya denounced on Friday the recent rocket launch by China that was projected to leave debris within the country’s exclusive economic zone.
“Whether it be for research purposes or for military projection, this is unacceptable, as unburned debris discarded from the rocket could severely damage our coral reefs,” Bobby Roldan, Pamalakaya vice chair for Luzon, told the Inquirer.
Roldan said maritime authorities should closely monitor the fishing grounds in Scarborough Shoal, also known as Panatag Shoal, for the anticipated debris. The shoal is about 249 kilometers from the coastline of Zambales.
“Lastly, the Marcos administration should prepare a stern protest over China’s apparent reckless rocket launch that could damage our fishing grounds,” he added.
The Philippine Space Agency (PhilSA) is monitoring debris from the Long March 7 rocket launched on Wednesday at 9:22 p.m. Philippine time from Wenchang Space Launch Center in Hainan.
“Unburned debris expected to be discarded from the rocket before it entered outer space is projected to have fallen within three identified drop zone areas that are approximately 65 to 79 kilometers from Bajo de Masinloc,” PhilSa said in an advisory on Thursday.
“The debris is unlikely to have dropped on land features or inhabited areas in the Philippines. However, discarded debris may float around the area or wash to nearby coasts,” it added.
Last month, another Chinese rocket was launched from the Jiuquan Satellite Launch Center in the Gobi Desert, Inner Mongolia.
In October last year, a Chinese rocket carrying the Mengtian laboratory module for the Tiangong space station was launched from Wenchang Space Launch Center on Hainan Island.
Both rockets were also projected to leave debris on Scarborough Shoal. INQ