Marcos: Build case over cyanide use if there’s enough proof

Marcos: Build case over cyanide use if there’s enough proof

Bongbong Marcos to back filing of cases over cyanide use in Scarborough

TRADITIONAL FISHING GROUND This 2016 photo taken by a drone camera shows part of Scarborough Shoal, also known as Panatag and Bajo de Masinloc, which is a traditional fishing ground of Filipino fishermen in the West Philippine Sea that is being claimed by China. —REM ZAMORA

President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. on Tuesday said he would support the filing of a case in connection with the alleged use of cyanide in Bajo de Masinloc (Scarborough Shoal) “if there is enough ground to do so.”

The Chinese Embassy in Manila issued a statement also on Tuesday describing as “sheer fabrication” an earlier claim by the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) that Chinese fishermen use cyanide to “intentionally destroy Bajo de Masinloc.”


There was no reference to those fishermen by Mr. Marcos or the media during his ambush interview with them, but he said, when asked by reporters about “cyanide fishing” that “If we feel that there is enough ground to do so, we will [pursue charges].”


“I do know that there are cases of cyanide fishing, even before, here in the Philippines. But I think the reason that it has been more alarming is that it has become more prevalent,” he added.


On Monday, Assistant Director General Jonathan Malaya of the National Security Council said the Philippines will build a case on environmental destruction once BFAR validates the allegation of cyanide use.

Nazario Briguera, spokesperson for BFAR, said over the weekend that his claim of cyanide use at Bajo de Masinloc was based on accounts of Filipino fisherfolk.

But the Chinese Embassy said on Tuesday that “the allegation against Chinese fishermen is totally baseless and sheer fabrication.”

“The Chinese government attaches great importance to the protection of ecological environment and conservation of fishery resources, and have [sic] taken resolute measures to crack down on any illegal fishing activities,” it added.

The embassy criticized the “groundless speculations, slanders and inconsistent statements of spokespersons of relevant Philippine agencies.”


“Such continuous disinformation has led up to nothing but exacerbation of the maritime tensions and destabilization of bilateral relations,” the embassy said, even as it asserted that “China has indisputable sovereignty” over the shoal and its adjacent waters.

BFAR draws flak

Meanwhile, fisherfolk group Pamalakaya issued a statement on Tuesday saying that BFAR had “failed” to enforce the law, in particular, Republic Act No. 10654, or the Amended Fisheries Code, in going after Chinese fishermen at Bajo de Masinloc.

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“Despite the evident poaching and other destructive fishing activities of foreign fishing vessels in the country’s territorial waters, the BFAR continues to fail to implement its own fishing laws to protect the marine resources and Filipino fisherfolk,” the group said.

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“With the wide area of shoals destroyed by China and other countries in the West Philippine Sea, a big amount of payment for damages could already be collected for these … to help Filipino fisherfolk whose catch [has] dropped because of the destroyed fishing grounds,” it said further. —WITH A REPORT FROM JACOB LAZARO INQ

TAGS: Bajo de Masinloc, Bongbong marcos, fishers

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