Presidential Spokesperson Harry Roque on Monday, July 12, 2021 said in a press briefing that he disputed the Filipino fishermen group, Bigkis ng Mangingisda’s assertion about their experiences being harassed by Chinese ships in some parts of the West Philippine Sea (WPS).
According to Roque, he was the lawyer of the fishermen from Masinloc and parts of Pangasinan. And he has a ‘personal knowledge’ that almost all of these fishermen are back at their livelihoods especially in Boro.
“I’m saying whoever said it must not be reporting the truth and everything but the truth.” he added.
5TH HAUGE RULING ANNIVERSARY
On July 12, 2016, the Philippines won an arbitration case against China concerning certain issues in the South China Sea (SCS), including the nine-dash. The Arbitral Award declared that China’s Nine-Dash Line claim violates the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).
It declared that the Philippines has an Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) and Continental Shelf (CS) in the areas of Panganiban (Mischief) Reef, Ayungin (Second Thomas) Shoal, and Recto (Reed) Bank and that Filipino fishermen have traditional fishing rights, in common with Chinese and Vietnamese fishermen, in the Territorial Sea (TS) of Bajo de Masinloc.
But despite this, Filipino fishermen said that they are still not able to fish freely within the country’s EZZ because Chinese boats hinder them from fishing.
On June 5, 2021, Retired Supreme Court Justice Francis H. Jardeleza proposed to President Rodrigo Duterte the enactment of the New Baselines Law that will amend Republic Act No. 9522, the current Baselines Law, to enforce the 5-year old South China Sea Arbitral Award won by the Philippines in its maritime dispute with China.
“Unfortunately, almost five (5) years after the award, our country seems still divided on how best to enforce it.” as stated on Jadeleza’s letter to Duterte.