DOJ backs case buildup vs alleged cyanide users

DOJ backs case buildup vs alleged cyanide users

foreign fishermen allegedly using cyanide

JOINT EFFORT The Department of Justice is working with marine and legal experts to determine possible measures the government can take in protecting the West Philippine Sea, particularly Bajo de Masinloc (Scarborough Shoal), against foreign fishermen allegedly using cyanide. —INQUIRER FILE PHOTO

The Department of Justice (DOJ) on Wednesday said it would support the gathering of evidence and building of a strong legal case against Chinese fishermen allegedly using cyanide in Bajo de Masinloc (Scarborough Shoal).Justice Secretary Jesus Crispin Remulla said in a statement that they have launched a study on the legal remedies the government could take to protect the West Philippine Sea.

“Under the leadership of President Marcos, the Philippines will not tolerate any actions that harm our environment or deprive Filipino people of their right to its use and beauty,” Remulla stressed.


The DOJ said it had been “actively involved” in the ongoing legal action against China over the damage its coast guard vessels caused near Rozul Reef and Escoda Shoal.


Aside from seeking help from Filipino marine scientists, the DOJ said Remulla also sought the advice of international law experts to study legal strategies.

In a news forum over the weekend, Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources spokesperson Nazario Briguera, citing accounts of Filipino fisherfolk, claimed that Chinese fishermen were using cyanide to “intentionally destroy Bajo de Masinloc to prevent Filipino fishing boats from fishing in the area.”

But the Chinese Embassy in Manila told reporters the allegations were “baseless and sheer fabrication.”

READ: PH to build case on Chinese fishers’ alleged cyanide use in WPS
“The Chinese government attaches great importance to the protection of ecological environment and conservation of fishery resources, and [has] taken resolute measures to crack down on any illegal fishing activities,” it said in a statement.

The Chinese embassy also complained in an earlier statement that the Philippines was stirring trouble when it conducted with the United States a joint flyover in the West Philippine Sea as part of maritime cooperative activities launched in November.


As part of the second phase of the activities, the US Pacific Air Forces dispatched a B-52H Stratofortress bomber for flyovers off Ilocos Sur and Mindoro on Monday.

Legal, legitimate activities

The Philippine Air Force also dispatched three FA-50 light fighters for the maneuver.

In response to China’s complaint, National Security Adviser Eduardo Año said on Wednesday that the exercise was done in Philippine territory and was “well within our rights as a sovereign nation.”

“Our engagements with the United States are well within our rights as a sovereign and independent nation, aimed at promoting maritime security and upholding international law. We reject any assertion from other countries that seeks to undermine our legal and legitimate activities,” Año said in a statement.The latest patrols conducted inside Philippine territory “serve the purpose of enhancing maritime security, promoting regional stability and upholding international law,” he said.The Philippines and Australia also started joint naval patrols in the West Philippine Sea in November last year.

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“These patrols help deter illegal activities, ensure freedom of navigation and contribute to the protection of shared interests in the region,” Año added.

According to him, the latest air patrol was part of the country’s “longstanding defense cooperation” with the US and vowed that the Philippines would continue to work closely with partner countries “to ensure a secure and a prosperous future for all nations in the Indo-Pacific region.”

TAGS: DoJ, fishers

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