PH to China: Don’t harm our fishermen

PAMPANGA, Philippines – The Philippines appealed to China on Friday, February 6, to spare its fishermen from hostile treatment as tensions boil anew between the two countries in the disputed West Philippine Sea (South China Sea). 

“Don’t do action that would endanger the lives of our fishermen,” Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) spokesperson Charles Jose told reporters Friday, February 6, at the sidelines of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation formal Senior Officials Meeting (APEC-SOM) in Clark Freeport Zone, Pampanga.

Jose is also spokesperson of APEC 2015, as China turned over its chairmanship to the Philippines last year. (READ: APEC senior officials to build on China priorities)

He made the appeal two days after the Department of Foreign Affairs filed two protest notes against China for ramming 3 Filipino vessels and collecting giant clams at the contested Panatag (Scarborough) Shoal, also known in the Philippines as Bajo de Masinloc.

Following the incident, Jose urged China not to harm Filipino fishermen traversing the disputed waters, as many of them only seek shelter in the disputed shoal from harsh weather.

“Many Filipinos who are in Masinloc town depend their livelihood on fishing,” Jose added.

The Philippine government's latest protest notes come after the Philippines urged foreign ministers of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) to express concern over another “critical issue in our backyard.” (READ: ASEAN ministers concerned over China reclamation)

The Philippines asserts that the land reclamation disrupts the status quo in the South China Sea as Manila awaits the ruling on the historic case it filed against Beijing. – Rappler.com