Press Release
February 1, 2022

Pangilinan: Bagsak kita ng Pilipinong mangingisda dahil sa Chinese ships sa WPS

THE income of Filipino fishermen of the coastal areas near the West Philippine Sea (WPS) has been reduced by as much as 80 percent due to the constant presence of Chinese vessels, Senator Francis "Kiko" Pangilinan said Tuesday.

Pangilinan learned from fisherfolk he met over the weekend in Zambales that from the average P10,000 to P18,000 a week they used to make before the Chinese occupation of Bajo de Masinloc, their income is now down to P2,000 to P3,500 a week.

"Pag mas konti ang kita, mas konti ang pambili ng pagkain at gamot, mas konting pera para sa edukasyon ng mga anak at iba pang mga gastusin ng pamilya," Pangilinan said.

"Hindi katanggap-tanggap na hindi makapangisda ang ating mga kababayan sa sarili nating karagatan," he added.

Pangilinan said the fishers are no longer able to fish even in the country's exclusive economic zone for fear of being harassed or driven away by China.

"Nagkakasya na lang sila sa pangingisda sa 15-kilometer municipal waters kung saan mas kaunti ang pwedeng mahuli," he said.

He added that the fishermen also have to compete with bigger commercial fishing vessels that operate near coastal waters.

Pangilinan called on the government to protect the economic rights of fishermen in the WPS. Earlier, several Zambales folk narrated to him that the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) conducts sea patrol only up to 12 nautical miles even as some fishermen go beyond this distance in hopes for a more bountiful catch.

He called on the PCG to protect Filipino fishermen as they rely on them for their security.

Since 2012, China has effective control of Bajo de Masinloc, also known as Scarborough Shoal. Only 120 nautical miles from Zambales, the rock formation has been a traditional fishing ground for Filipinos, who have since been turned away from their source of livelihood.

China has refused to leave despite the Hague-based UN-backed tribunal ruling in favor of the Philippines in July 2016, invalidating China's nine-dash line territorial claim over the entire South China Sea, including the West Philippine Sea.

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