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PAMPANGA, Philippines – A group of fisherfolk together with their families set sail a giant buoy effigy on Monday morning, November 6, in San Salvador island in Masinloc, Zambales in protest against China’s continuous aggression.
Bearing the Philippine flag etched with “Atin ang Pilipinas” (The Philippines is ours), the buoy symbolizes the fisherfolks’ “hunger and anger” as a result of China’s continued harassment and suppression of their fishing in Scarborough Shoal, according to the Association of Masinloc Fishermen.
Village chief Richard Pascual said the constant harassment and aggression against their fishermen in Scarborough has greatly affected their livelihood.
Pascual said their island is dependent on the bounty of the ocean as their source of food and employment.
“Nasaksihan natin ang pagre-release ng boya na simbolo ng kalayaan ng ating mga mangingisda, na patuloy tayong hina-harass ng Tsina. Kailangan nating makalaya sa mga Tsino para malaya tayong makalayag, ‘yung mga mangingisda para maibsan ang mga pagsubok na dinaranas natin ngayon,” said Apple Macaspac, San Salvador resident and a fisherman’s wife.
(We have witnessed the release of the buoy which symbolizes the freedom of our fishermen against the continuous harassment of China. We need to be free from the Chinese so we can set sail freely, our fishermen they’d be able to find relief from the challenges we now experience.)
Macaspac hopes that the buoy will help achieve its purpose for the fishermen to sail safely and freely to support their families and their daily lives.
Pascual recognized the support of President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. as well as the Philippine Coast Guard and their local government, and strongly appealed that their right – to peaceful sailing into the ocean and securing a livelihood for their families – be respected.
The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) has acknowledged China’s intrusion into Philippine waters, following the incident near Bajo de Masinloc. The DFA said the attention of Chinese authorities is called when there is any activity that infringes on the country’s sovereignty, sovereign rights, and jurisdiction.
Early this year, the Philippines labeled China’s actions as acts of aggression following a series of incidents where Philippine vessels were being harassed while monitoring the waters in the West Philippine Sea. – Rappler.com