MANILA—Vice-President Leni Robredo on Saturday raised her concerns over reports that members of the Chinese Coast Guard were taking the catch of Filipino fishermen in Scarborough Shoal, a rich fishing ground off Zambales province.
"Lantaran itong pagbalewala sa karapatan ng mga Pilipino, at sa awtoridad ng Republika ng Pilipinas sa Panatag (Scarborough) Shoal, alinsunod sa desisyon ng Permanent Court of Arbitration, isang international tribunal sa The Hague, noong 2016," she said in a statement.
(This is a blatant disregard of the rights of Filipinos and of the authority of the Philippines over the Scarborough Shoal based on the 2016 decision of the Permanent Court of Arbitration, an international tribunal in The Hague.)
Robredo was reacting to a news report showing a video of Chinese Coast Guard personnel asking for fish from Filipino fishermen in the shoal.
China had previously blocked Filipinos’ access to the rich fishing ground, but Manila’s rapprochement with Beijing under President Duterte supposedly reversed the situation.
The shoal is a potential flashpoint in the disputed sea, as maritime experts have said that Beijing plans to build another artificial island there to fully cement its control of the vital waterway.
Robredo also urged the government to act on the issue and defend the welfare of Filipinos.
"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," she said.
"Umaasa tayo na mabilis at buong loob na tutugon ang administrasyon sa hamong ito."
(For a long time now, we have been pushing for a strong and clear resistance against the actions of China in our waters. We are hoping the administration will act swiftly and wholeheartedly on this challenge.)
Malacañang on Friday said it will check on the reports of alleged harassment.