BFAR won't recognize China's trespassers policy in West Philippine Sea

BFAR won’t recognize China’s ‘trespassers’ policy in West Philippine Sea

By: - Reporter / @zacariansINQ
/ 09:19 AM May 29, 2024

A Chinese Coast Guard vessel fires its water cannon at the Philippine resupply vessel UnaizahMay 4 on its way to a resupply mission at Ayungin (Second Thomas) Shoal in the West Philippine Sea in this photo taken on March 5. —REUTERS

A Chinese Coast Guard vessel fires its water cannon at the Philippine resupply vessel UnaizahMay 4 on its way to a resupply mission at Ayungin (Second Thomas) Shoal in the West Philippine Sea in this photo taken on March 5. —REUTERS

MANILA, Philippines — The Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) on Wednesday said it does not recognize China’s declaration to detain foreign trespassers in the West Philippine Sea (WPS), stating that it will continue its activities along the area.

BFAR spokesperson Nizario Briguera made the pronouncement after China declared a new policy starting June 15, where it would start detaining for 60 days without trial foreigners who trespass into areas in the waterway supposedly under its jurisdiction.

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“Hindi natin kinikilala itong unilateral declaration ng China diyan sa WPS na sinasabing fishing ban, so sa ngayon walang pwedeng pumigil sa activities natin sa mga mangingisda at ‘yung mga lehitimong gagawing misyon ng BFAR,” Briguera said in an interview over Radyo 630 when asked about China’s new policy.

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(We do not recognize this unilateral declaration by China in the WPS that is said to be a fishing ban, so for now no one can stop our activities, including fishers and legitimate missions of BFAR.)

According to Briguera, China’s declaration has no legal basis, echoing the position of the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA).

READ: DFA: China’s Coast Guard rules violate international law

Furthermore, Briguela also said China cannot impose a fishing ban in the area without a scientific basis.

“Hindi natin alam ano ba basihan, at pangalawa walang legal na basihan ‘yung ginagawa nilang operasyon,” said Briguera.

(We don’t know what the basis is, and secondly, there is no legal basis for their operation.)

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READ: PH protests Chinese fishing ban in West Philippine Sea

He also assured the public that along with the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) and the Philippine Navy, BFAR will establish its presence in the WPS to protect Filipino fisherfolk.

China has been claiming the majority of the South China Sea, including the West Philippine Sea, even after the Permanent Court of Arbitration already invalidated China’s claims and upheld the Philippines’ exclusive economic zone.

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Meanwhile, China announced its detainment policy just two weeks after Chinese Coast Guard ships blasted two PCG vessels on a humanitarian mission with powerful water cannons.

For comprehensive coverage, in-depth analysis, and the latest updates on the West Philippine Sea issue, visit our special site here. Stay informed with articles, videos, and expert opinions.

TAGS: China, West Philippine Sea

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