China's harvest of giant clams an 'affront' to Philippines: Palace

Arianne Merez, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Apr 16 2019 03:55 PM

MANILA -- China’s extraction of giant clams in the Scarborough Shoal is an "affront" to Philippine sovereignty, a Palace official said Tuesday.

Filipino fishermen recently told ABS-CBN News that Chinese Coast Guard ships drove them away from the shoal as wooden ships that bore China's flag harvested giant clams.

"It is an affront to our territory and our sovereignty," Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo told reporters.

"As far as we are concerned, that is ours so we will be objecting to those intrusions," he said.

Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. on Tuesday said the Philippines would take legal action against China over the clam harvest.

Former Foreign Affairs Sec Albert del Rosario and former Ombudsman Conchita Carpio Morales recently raised concern over reports that hundreds of Chinese vessels were sighted near Philippine-occupied Pag-asa Island.

The two former officials also recently raised China's actions in disputed waters before the International Criminal Court.

It was Del Rosario, under the Aquino administration, who pursued an international arbitration case against China, which the Philippines won. Beijing refused to recognize the ruling.

President Rodrigo Duterte last week said he would not allow Beijing to occupy the island.

Panelo said the Philippines would wait for China to respond to Manila’s diplomatic protests and would act on it “one way or another.”

"I'm sure they will respond in time," he said.

Panelo earlier said that the Philippines’ sovereignty is "non-negotiable" even as the country pursues friendly ties with China.