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Jul 13, 2016 @ 1:51

#CHexit victory: Pinoy fishermen, to return to Scarborough

Finally, #CHexit happened! The real victors? Pinoy fisher folks.

Fishermen in Subic, Zambales prepared on Tuesday afternoon for a trip to the Scarborough Shoal, following the United Nations’ Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague armed the fisher folk with a favorable ruling on the territorial dispute, Inquirer reported.

“Tomorrow, we are going to sail back to the Panatag (Shoal). We are a bit afraid but the United Nations is on our side,” Larry Alaras, a 48 year old fisherman said to Inquirer, upon hearing about the good news.

The fishermen in Barangay Calapandayan, Subic were informed of the good news while fixing their fishing boats.
“We’re happy about it. We can now assert our rights to fish around the Scarborough Shoal,” said Alaras, also a boat skipper.

Alaras mentioned that he and his fellow fishermen in Calapandayan received reports about the ruling hours before it was officially announced.

“The question now is: Will the Chinese coast guards allow us to fish there?” he added.

“We all know that the shoal and other islands or reefs in the West Philippine Sea are too far from China.

It’s going to be unfair if the UN would give these to China”, Tirso Atiga, the president of the Calapandayan Fishermen’s Multipurpose Cooperative, told Inquirer.

However, not everyone were completely elated by the course of events.

Jowe Legaspi, a council member of the fishing village of Cato in Infanta, Pangasinan said he was “not completely happy” with the UN court decision because China reiterated that they would not honor the rulings of the court.

Legaspi, 44, was one of the 16 Infanta fishermen who requested the UN to direct China to respect their rights and claims in their fishing area at the Panatag Shoal, Inquirer said.

“We will only be completely happy if the Chinese will leave the Scarborough Shoal,” Legaspi said.

Joseph Daroca, another fisher folk, said it was okay for China to stay in the shoal as long as they would not oppress, or do any harm to Filipino fishermen. Due to numerous Chinese patrols, Daroca stopped fishing last year, the report said.


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