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My views on West PH Sea row were just ‘tongue in cheek’ — Sotto

/ 03:23 PM June 27, 2019

MANILA, Philippines — Senate President Vicente Sotto III on Thursday clarified that his comments on the fishing issue in the West Philippine Sea (WPS) were only “done with tongue in cheek.”

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In an interview with over ANC’s “Early Edition,” Sotto said it is difficult to invoke exclusivity in the marine resources in the WPS, noting that it is technically impossible to determine where the fishes originally came from.

“It’s very difficult to say that there’s exclusivity when it’s underwater. The fish could be coming from China, and the fish from the Philippines could be going to China if we want to be technical about it and relate it to the constitutionality of what should be owned by us,” Sotto said.

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READ: Sotto on Chinese fishers in PH waters: ‘The fish could be coming from China’

Sotto, however, clarified in a tweet that he did not mean what he said, saying that the comments were “done with tongue in cheek.”

“My responses [regarding] WPS were done with ‘tongue in cheek’. I’m tired of talking about it,” Sotto said in a tweet.

In a separate statement, Sotto renewed his clarification saying: “My comments on WPS and its resources [were] tongue-in-cheek statement[s]. Sadly kaunti lang ang nakainintindi.”

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President Rodrigo Duterte earlier said that it was OK with him to allow China to fish in Philippine waters.

“I don’t think China would do that (stop fishing in Philippine territory). Why? Because we’re friends,” Duterte told reporters.

Following these comments, Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo said the move to allow China to fish in the country’s Exclusive Economic Zone was out of friendship.

“He said they will not allow it, but as far as they’re concerned, they have a historical right to that,” Panelo said in a press briefing.

“Number two, we will allow it kasi we’re friends naman, ‘di magbigayan muna tayo – parang ganoon ang punto ni Presidente,” he added./ac

READ: Out of friendship, PH will ‘tolerate’ China to fish in country’s EEZ – Palace

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TAGS: China, fishing dispute, Sotto, West Philippine Sea
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