Bayan Muna: PH should strictly impose sea code as more ships enter EEZ
MANILA, Philippines — Party-list group Bayan Muna on Thursday said the Philippines should be aggressive in pushing for the Code of Conduct in the West Philippine Sea (WPS) after infrared imaging showed more ships are entering the country’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ) since 2012.
Bayan Muna Rep. Carlos Isagani Zarate said strict implementation of the Code of Conduct would prevent enroachment of the country’s resources in the EEZ.
“Dahil sa ganitong kalagayan ay dapat mas paigtingin ang pagbabantay natin sa West Philippine Sea. Napakarami ng banyagang pumapasok sa ating exclusive economic zone at kinukuha at dinadambong ang ating mga rekurso,” Zarate said in a statement.
“Dapat din na agresibong itulak ng Pilipinas na magkaroon na ng binding Code of Conduct sa West Philippime Sea at strictly ma-implement to prevent these further theft and enroachment of our resources,” he added.
In a press conference on Wednesday, geographic information system (GIS) expert Jessie Floren of Karagatan Patrol shared images compiled through the Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (VIIRS) light detection sensor.
The images showed that in April 2012, only a few red dots — which represent lights from ships — can be seen in the Western portion of the country.
More red dots can be seen in the following years.
In the same press conference, Institute for Maritime Affairs and the Law of the Sea Executive Director Dr. Jay Batongbacal said he believes the detected ships were foreign — particularly from China — since lights from under-equipped small, local fishing boats cannot be detected by the VIIRS.
“Yung lakas ng ilaw nila, ‘don pa lang alam natin na mas likely talaga na foreign fishing vessels, at Chinese fishing vessels dahil sila lang ang merong ganyan ka-rami na (ships),” Batongbacal said.
President Rodrigo Duterte earlier called China to fast track the completion of the code of conduct, saying that further delaying it could lead to a “miscalculation” that may cause tension in the disputed waters. (Editor: Jonathan P. Vicente)
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