PRESIDENT Rodrigo Duterte said Sunday, October 23, that Filipinos might soon fish again near the Scarborough Shoal after his talks with Chinese officials during his recent state visit in Beijing.
Duterte said he brought up the fishing rights of the Filipinos in the disputed South China Sea during his trip to China last October 18-21.
"Ako po’y nagpunta doon, wala ho kaming pinag-usapang armas, wala ho kaming pinag-usapang gyera-gyera. Pinag-usapan namin kung papaano tayo magtulungan (I went there. We did not talk about arms and battle. We talked about how we can help each other)," he said in a speech in Tuguegarao, Cagayan, one of the areas hit by Super Typhoon Lawin (Haima).
"We’ll just wait for a few more days. Baka makabalik na tayo doon sa Scarborough Shoal, ang pangingisda ng ating mga kababayan (We might resume fishing near the Scarborough Shoal)," he said.
Chinese coast guards have been preventing Filipino fishermen from fishing near the Scarborough Shoal.
China is claiming wholly the South China Sea (West Philippine Sea) through its nine-dash line. But a Hague-based arbitral tribunal, following the Philippine petition, declared as invalid China's nine-dash line and its historical claim over almost the entire South China Sea.
Duterte said that once the Filipino fishermen could return fishing near the Scarborough Shoal, they would not be allowed to go inside the shoal.
He said not fishing inside the shoal would protect the "spawning grounds" of the fish.
"Ang pagkaalam ko pinaalis na rin niya ‘yung mga Chinese na fisherman at para wala nang makita diyan. Iyon ang pinag-usapan namin, ewan ko kung tutuparin nila (What I know is that Chinese President Ji Xinping also ordered the Chinese fishermen to fish out of the shoal. That's what we discussed; I don't know if they will do it)," Duterte added. ( SDR/Sunnex)