Fisherfolks carry out satisfactory collective fishing defying China's 'fishing ban' in West PH Sea

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The collective fishing that was launched by the Panatag Fisherfolks Association and the Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya) was successfully held in the sea near Masinloc, Zambales from May 30 to May 31 as a defiance to China’s imposed fishing ban. The ban from May to September 16 covered areas of the South China Sea, “12 degrees latitude north” which includes Panatag Shoal (Scarborough) and is 124-nautical miles from Zambales.

In addition to the fisherfolks, the leaders of the Bagong Alyansang Makabayan, Pilipinong Nagkakaisa Para sa Soberanya (P1NAS), League of Filipino Students (LFS), and Alliance of Concerned Teachers joined the voyage. Representatives of the Makabayan bloc, Kabataan Rep. Raoul Manuel and ACT Teachers Rep. France Castro also participated.

Pamalakaya said in addition to defying China’s “fishing ban,” the expedition also called for the “complete demilitarization” of the West Philippine Sea. The group refers to China’s construction of islands and US imperialist military aggression under the guise of “freedom of navigation” operations in the seas.

Joey Marabe, coordinator of Pamalakaya in Zambales, said that it was not long ago that marine resources were seriously affected by the bombing carried out by the US in the waters of Zambales during the Balikatan games. “Fisherfolks in some towns in the province feel that since the Balikatan ended in May, our catch and income have declined with each fishing,” he said.

Jojo Ecijan, president of the Panatag Fisherfolk Association, said “China is not the only one accountable for the continued occupation, but also its rival US which is harming our livelihood and violating our sovereignty.”

An estimated 5,000 fishermen are affected by the Chinese and US military saber-rattling in the West Philippine Sea.

“We would like to give priority to the local and small fishermen in the West Philippine Sea. We hope for a good fishing opportunity here for the small fishermen,” fisherman Tatay Gerry said.

AB: Fisherfolks carry out satisfactory collective fishing defying China's 'fishing ban' in West PH Sea