NGO says Chinese maritime militia harassing fisherfolk in Scarborough shoal
MANILA, Philippines — Local fisherfolk trawling near Scarborough shoal were harassed and ordered to get out of the area by alleged Chinese maritime militia boats last February 3 and February 6, a non-government organization claimed on Friday.
According to the Peoples’ Development Institute (PDI), the first video taken on February 3, showed a Filipino fisherfolk informing other people in the area that a Chinese individual was shooing them away.
“Go, go, go,” he quoted the Chinese as saying, adding that there were two rubber boats labeled “3065” and “3066” who chased them out of the sea.
One of the fisherfolk who was chased away by the supposed Chinese maritime militia boats said they thought it would be okay to fish in the area.
“Sabi ng ating Presidente okay na? Di pala, gano’n pa rin [Our President said it is okay to fish. But it is not],” the fisherfolk noted.
The second video meanwhile showed at least six Chinese maritime militia vessels surrounding Filipino fisherfolk in Scarborough shoal also.
“‘Yong unang pangyayari doon February 3, ‘yong ‘go, go, go.’ Tapos ‘yong mga ships, ‘yong Chinese militia iniikutan ‘yong mga bangka, February 6 ‘yon,” PDI president Ria Teves told INQUIRER.net on a phone interview.
(The first video was taken on February 3, where Chinese individuals shouted “go, go, go.” Then the one with the Chinese militia ships encircling the boats, that was on February 6.)
“Since 2012, ang mga mangingisda ‘di bag nag-uumpisa na tinitira na sila, ang mga mangingisda noong 2012. Noong 2012, ‘yong laser light? Nile-laser light na ang mga mangingisda, kaya lang kasi at that time hindi pa namin sila kilala kasi after no’n at saka (lang) sila lumapit sa amin eh,” she added.
(Since 2012, the fisherfolk have been attacked by lasers in 2012. They were subjected to laser lights at that time but we did not know who they were because it was only until recently that they emerged and moved near us.)
Furthermore, fisherfolk in Pangasinan said they observed an unidentified flying object (UFO) which has a description that is similar to China’s high-altitude balloon that was seen over United States airspace, which was eventually shot down.
It could be remembered that the spy balloon, which China claims to be a mere weather balloon that drifted away, started another round of diplomatic spat between the two superpowers.
“Ang isa pa nilang nakita last week na, kasi nag-meet kami, nagkaroon kami ng conference dito, sinabi nila sa akin nakakita sila ng UFO na malaking-malaki sa WPS (West Philippine Sea) na nasa sky,” Teves said.
(Another thing that they saw last week, because we had a meeting and a conference here, is that they saw an allegedly big UFO over the WPS.)
“Alam mo no’ng pina-describe ko sa kanila, parang ‘yong shinot-down ng US, kaya sabi ko kapag nakakita sila ulit, kuna’n nila ng picture,” she added.
(You know, when I asked them to describe it, it was similar to the one shot down by the US, that’s why I told them that if they saw something similar again, they should take a picture of it.)
This incident over the Scarborough shoal is the latest in a recent wave of tensions between China and the Philippines: earlier this week, it was reported that a Chinese coast guard ship with bow number 5205 directed a military-grade laser against a Philippine Coast Guard ship.
In the past, the two countries have discussed several issues like when 220 Chinese maritime militia vessels were spotted in line formation near the Julian Felipe Reef, which is well within the Philippines’ exclusive economic zone.
China claims ownership of almost the entire South China Sea, saying that their nine-dash-line territorial claim have historical basis. However, the Philippines won in a ruling released by the Permanent Court of Arbitration in 2016, which invalidated China’s nine-dash line claim for having no legal basis.