MANILA - (1st UPDATE) Filipino fishermen are still not allowed to fish in the waters of Scarborough Shoal, even after an international court backed the maritime case filed by the Philippines against China.
An ABS-CBN News team joined Filipino fishermen in their attempt to enter the area.
"Nakisabay kami dito sa isang grupo ng mangingisdang Pinoy na susubok nga, sumubok sila na magpalaot isang araw pagkatapos ng arbitral tribunal at susubukan nga nila kung papapasukin na sila sa Scarborough Shoal," Chiara Zambrano said.
They were met by a Chinese fishing vessel, which followed them and stopped them from entering the area around Scarborough Shoal.
"Pero ang lumalabas eh parang, siguro, 40 miles pa ang layo namin mula sa Scarborough (Shoal) eh...sinalubong na kami nitong malaking China Coast Guard ship at binuntutan na nila kami kasi nakikita na nila siyempre ang direksyong tinatahak nitong bangka ay papunta doon sa Bajo de Masinloc," Zambrano added.
"At iniisip nga namin bakit kami sinusundan at binubuntutan, 'yun pala ay para hindi kami makaliko pakaliwa dahil papunta na doon 'yung Scarborough (Shoal)," she also said.
Fishermen also noticed another Chinese fishing vessel blocked the entrance of Bajo de Masinloc, one of the traditional fishing grounds of the Filipinos living near the area.
"At itinuro ng mga mangingisda na may pangalawang barko ng Chinese Coast Guard na nandoon mismo, nakabalagbag doon sa bukana, doon sa pasukan ng Scarborough Shoal," Zambrano said.
Aside from the two Chinese vessels, the group also sighted four more vessels in the area.
Because they were not allowed to enter Scarborough Shoal, the Filipino fishermen decided to just fish outside the area. However, two speed boats circled around the fishermen as they were fishing.
The Chinese Coast Guard also used their megaphones to tell the Filipinos to leave the area.
"Minemegaphone kami, kinukunan kami ng litrato at video at sinasabi nila, 'This is China Coast Guard. This is a law-enforcement operation. We order you to leave the area immediately'," Zambrano narrated.
Scarborough Shoal is around 16 hours from Masinloc town in Zambales. Because of the incident, the fishermen were only able to get a small amount of fish, enough only for a night's meal.
The Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) on Tuesday ruled in favor of the Philippines' arguments for maritime entitlements over the West Philippine Sea, dealing a major legal blow to China's claims in the area rich in seafood and gas reserves.
China has held Scarborough Shoal, a rich fishing ground, since 2012 following a tense naval standoff. Filipino fishermen in the area have accused the Chinese of routine harassment that have left them jobless.
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