3:00 pm | Wednesday, May 29th, 2013
MANILA, Philippines – The alternative fishing grounds that Malacañang claimed they will soon identify for Filipino fishermen affected by current tensions in the West Philippine Sea do not exist, a fisherfolk group said on Wednesday.
“The country with 7,101 islands and separated by bodies of water is the entire fishing area of 1.3 million fishermen. So what alternative fishing grounds Malacañang are referring to?” Salvador France, vice chairperson of Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya) said in a statement.
France blasted the Palace statement as “irresponsible and mind-blowing statement.”
In reality, he said Malacañang through the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources had been planning to impose a nationwide fish ban.
France said that 10 of the 13 fishing grounds identified as Lingayen Gulf, northern Zambales, Visayan Sea, Camotes Sea, Honda Bay, Babuyan Channel, Lagonoy Gulf, Sorsogon Bay, Hinatuan and Dinagat Bay and Davao Gulf were mapped out to execute fish ban to pave way for the government’s stock assessment program.
On Tuesday, deputy spokesperson Abigail Valte said that the Aquino administration will soon identify “alternative fishing grounds” for Filipino fishermen so as not to exacerbate tensions in the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea).It will also beef up its maritime assets to establish “a minimum credible defense” in the hotly contested West Philippine Sea.
She added that the Aquino administration will continue to employ its “nonengagement policy” on the issue of the disputed waters of the West Philippine Sea, referring to the presence of Chinese ships in Ayungin Shoal.