The Duterte administration is already taking pro-active measures in order to address the Filipino fishermen and Chinese Coast Guard incident in Scarborough Shoal, Malacañang said Monday, June 11.
In a Palace press briefing, Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque, Jr. admitted that there was indeed an incident where Chinese Coast Guard took fishes from Filipino fishermen in Scarborough Shoal.
Secretary Roque was joined by three fishermen — Delfin Egana, Romel Cejuela, and Jurry Drio — during the briefing.
“Ang sumatotal po ay totoo po na nagkaroon ng insidente na kinuhanan ng isda ang ating mga mangingisda sa Scarborough, pero sangayon po sa kanila mayroong ibinibigay na kapalit,” Roque said.
“Kada kinukuhanan sila ng isda, binibigyan sila ng noodles, sigarilyo, at pinakaimportante tubig dahil palagi silang nagkukulang sa tubig,” he added.
The President’s spokesperson, however, clarified that the Philippine government already relayed the information to Chinese officials, and in turn China is taking steps to address the issue.
In fact, according to the Palace official, there was already an agreement between Foreign Affairs Secretary Alan Peter Cayetano and Chinese Ambassador to the Philippines Zhao Jianhua regarding the issue.
“Mayroon pong problema pero hiningan na po namin ang gobyerno ng Tsina na gumawa ng mga hakbang para bigyan ng solusyon ang problemang ito.”
“At kinoconfirm ko po na nakapagusap na po si Secretary Alan Cayetano at si Ambassador Zhao hinggil sa insidenteng ito,” the official said.
“Inassure rin po ako ng Ambassador na hindi po ito polisiya ng Tsina, na nagiimbestiga ang Beijing, at kung mapapatunayan itong mga sinasabi ng mga mangingisda ay may kaparusahang ipapataw dito sa mga Chinese Coast Guard na ito,” Roque added.
More than this, in one of the bilateral talks between President Rodrigo Roa Duterte and Chinese President Xi Jinping, both leaders have arrived at a decision that Filipino fishermen are already allowed to fish in Scarborough Shoal, said Roque.
It can be recalled that during the Aquino administration Filipino fishermen were not allowed to catch fish in the Scarborough Shoal due to the conflict between the two countries.
“Ang pangingisda po sa Boro (Scarborough) ay hindi lang naging ruling ng Aribitral Tribunal, ito po ay naging usapin sa panig mismo ni President Xi (Jinping) at President Duterte na pupwede nang mangisdang muli ang ating mga mangingisda doon sa tinatawag na Boro,” Roque said.
Roque also noted that this issue is but a dent and will not, in any way, affect the bilateral relations between the two countries developed during Duterte administration.
“Naniniwala po kami na hindi ito official policy dahil mayroon nga pong kasunduan sa panig ni President Xi at President Duterte,” Roque said.
“Napakaliit na bagay po ito para maapektuhan ang kabuuan ng bilateral relations natin sa Tsina,” Roque added.
The three fishermen, meanwhile, thanked the Duterte administration for a quick response regarding this dilemma.
“Nagpapasalamat kami kay President Duterte na nakakapasok na kami diyan sa loob, nakakapangisda na kami ulit diyan. Hindi na kami hinaharangan [ng Chinese Coast Guard],” said fisherman Romel Cejuela.
Filipinos feel safer walking at night, per Gallup report
In the same press briefing, Secretary Roque relayed the good news that Filipinos feel safer to walk at night in lieu of the administration’s resolve to curb criminality in the country.
“Mas mapayapa at ligtas na po ang ating mga komunidad. Sangayon po sa Gallup report, sangayon po ito sa data na kinolekta sa mga 148,000 responses sa 142 countries, ang ating mga mamamayan daw po ay feeling ligtas kapag sila ay naglalakad na mag-isa tuwing gabi,” Roque said.
The country got a score of 82, a six-point increase from the country’s record in 2014.
BIR, BOC, BOT receive increase collection
Another good news, as relayed by the Spokesperson, is that three branches of the government — the Bureau of Internal Revenue, the Bureau of Customs, and the Bureau of Treasury — have received increase collection in the first five months of the year.
Roque said the additional collection from these agencies will be used to finance the government’s Build, Build, Build infrastructure program.###PCO-Content