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Robredo expresses concern over harassment of PH fishermen in Panatag

MANILA, Philippines – Vice President Leni Robredo on Saturday, June 9, expressed concern over an incident at Panatag (Scarborough) Shoal involving Filipino fishermen and the China Coast Guard.

The China Coast Guard was caught on video taking the catch of Filipino fishermen at Panatag Shoal. Videos of the encounter aired in a GMA News report on Thursday, June 7.

In her statement on Saturday, Robredo said in Filipino that the incident happened in waters "clearly within the country's Exclusive Economic Zone."

She called the China Coast Guard's actions as "a blatant disregard of the rights of Filipinos, and the authority of the Republic of the Philippines over Panatag (Scarborough) Shoal," in line with an arbitral tribunal's July 2016 decision in favor of the Philippines

The arbitral ruling upheld the Philippines' exclusive rights over resources within the West Philippine Sea.

"Alang-alang sa kapakanan ng ating mga mangingisda, ang anumang pag-aatubili sa panig ng ating pamahalaan sa tuloy-tuloy na panghimasok sa ating mga dagat ng ibang bansa ay kailangang isantabi sa lalong madaling panahon," said Robredo. 

(For the sake of the welfare of our fishermen, any hesitation on the part of the government over the continuous intrusions in our waters by other countries should be set aside immediately.)

She added: "Matagal na nating isinusulong na panahon na para ihain natin ang ating pinakamalakas at pinakamalinaw na pagtutol sa mga aksyon ng Tsina sa ating mga karagatan.

(We have long pushed that it is time for us to issue the strongest and clearest objection to China's actions in our waters.)

Robredo said Filipinos "are hoping that the government will always prioritize the protection of their welfare, above all.

"Umaasa tayo na mabilis at buong loob na tutugon ang administrasyon sa hamong ito (We are hoping that this administration will quickly and fully respond to this challenge)," she concluded. – Michael Bueza/Rappler.com