Defense chief scores harassment of Pinoy fishers | Global News

Defense chief scores harassment of Pinoy fishers

By: - Reporter / @NCorralesINQ
/ 05:46 AM January 25, 2024

Defense Secretary Gilberto Teodoro Jr.

Defense Secretary Gilberto Teodoro Jr. delivers his speech during the defense forum night of the Manila Overseas Press Club in Makati City on Tuesday, January 23, 2024. Noy Morcoso/

Defense Secretary Gilberto Teodoro Jr. on Tuesday night again condemned China’s latest act of aggression against Filipino fishermen in the resource-rich Scarborough Shoal, locally known as Bajo de Masinloc, which is within Manila’s 270-kilometer exclusive economic zone.

Speaking at the defense forum of the Manila Overseas Press Club in Makati City, Teodoro said China “has no business harassing Filipino fishermen” after a video showed local fisherfolk being driven away by the Chinese coast guard.


He also pointed out the importance of filing a diplomatic protest every time Beijing harasses Filipinos in the West Philippine Sea.


“We need to do those protests so as not to acquiesce and we have several measures that we are doing on a sustainable basis that we can manage,” Teodoro said.

According to the defense chief, the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources has a program to organize Filipino fishermen and “provide them needed sea services and actually to even increase their capacity.”

The Armed Forces of the Philippines is also embarking on a new defense concept called the “comprehensive archipelagic defense concept,” he added. “So rather than an inward- looking defense concept, we are evolving into a defense concept, which projects our power into areas where we must, by constitutional fiat and duty, protect and preserve our resources,” Teodoro said.

He noted that while the Philippines does not want a fight with China, the latter must abide by international laws if it wants to be respected as a superpower. “It cannot be based on formless dialogue where one party does not cease to expand its area of influence illegally to the detriment of a smaller country,” Teodoro said.

“If we do not stand up to the illegal and unilateral encroachment of these resources through a distorted nine- or 10-dash line, which nobody in the world accepts, then we will be guilty of acquiescence and we can be open to a rewriting of international law through constant practice by a stronger power, which the Marcos administration has sworn not to do,” he added.

“I do hope that there is some sanity and some sincerity behind the word of peaceful intent to avoid an armed conflict,” Teodoro said.

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