Marcos eager to file raps vs Chinese over cyanide fishing in Bajo de Masinloc

MANILA. President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.
MANILA. President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.PCO photo

PRESIDENT Ferdinand Marcos Jr. is eager to file charges against Chinese fishermen allegedly behind the cyanide fishing in Bajo de Masinloc in the disputed West Philippine Sea (South China Sea).

In an interview with reporters in Manila City on Tuesday, February 20, 2024, Marcos said the incident in Bajo de Masinloc is “more alarming” as it has been a prevalent practice in Philippine waters.

“I do know that there are cases of cyanide fishing before even here in the Philippines, but I think the reason that it has been more alarming is that it has become more prevalent kaya ‘yun ang inaalala natin,” he said.

“If we feel that there is an enough ground to do so (to file charges), we will,” he added.

Earlier, the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) said they are looking into reports that Chinese fishermen are involved in cyanide fishing in Bajo de Masinloc.

The BFAR said the Chinese fishermen are doing it intentionally to destroy the area to prevent Filipinos from fishing there.

The National Task Force for the West Philippine Sea (NTF-WPS) has ordered the BFAR to gather pieces of evidence to support their claims on the alleged cyanide fishing by the Chinese fishermen in the Bajo de Masinloc.

Earlier, Marcos ordered the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) and the BFAR to maintain a “rational deployment” in the West Philippine Sea amid reports of the continuous presence of Chinese vessels there, as well as the conduct of dangerous maneuvers against Filipino fishermen and government ships.

It was also reported the Chinese vessels put floating barriers in Bajo de Masinloc every time they monitored Philippine vessels nearby.

In September 2023, the PCG noted the “severe damage” in the marine environment and coral reef in some portions of the WPS allegedly done by China, which also claims 90 percent of the territorial waters off the Philippine Exclusive Economic Zone.

Meanwhile, Marcos said the government has intensified its intelligence services especially against external threats.

“Well, pinatibay talaga natin ang ating intelligence service. It’s much better than it was before because marami nang ibang bagong kailangan na bantayan,” he said.

“Maayos naman ang trabaho nila but then, I think more than anything, they are really directed towards external threats rather than internal because those are more serious as far as we’re concerned,” he added.

Marcos re-organized the National Intelligence Coordinating Agency (Nica) last month to strengthen the “agency’s intelligence gathering and analysis to ensure national security and promote national interest” through Executive Order 54.

The revamp involves the establishment of the Office of the Deputy Director General (ODDG) for Cyber and Emerging Threats tasked to direct and provide overall planning on “counter-intelligence and counter-measures against cybersecurity threats, weapons of mass destruction, and other emerging threats.” (TPM/SunStar Philippines)


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