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They’re back to Scarborough

Filipino fishers no longer face blockade at Bajo de Masinloc

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by Elena L. Aben and WSJ

Malacañang said China appears to have stopped blocking Filipino fishermen from approaching the disputed Scarborough Shoal off Zambales province, handing a potential victory to President Duterte following his visit to Beijing last week.

If the current situation holds, Duterte will enjoy an immediate reward for his push to pursue warmer relations with China and chart a foreign policy that is independent of the US, a longtime ally.

“For the past three days, it has been observed that there are no longer any Chinese Coast Guard and that Filipino fishing boats are no longer being intercepted,” presidential spokesman Ernesto Abello told reporters in Manila last Friday.

Chinese vessels have long prevented Filipino fishermen from working in the Scarborough Shoal, a rich fishing ground that both countries claim as being rightfully theirs. An international tribunal at The Hague in July ruled that no country had sovereign rights to the shoal and that there was no legal basis to China’s claim to nearly the entire South China Sea.

The verdict had been widely viewed as a victory for the Philippines, but Duterte has said he would set aside the dispute to rebuild relations with China and harness its financial firepower to help develop infrastructure at home. The Philippines’ powerful fishing lobby also pressured Duterte to negotiate for better access to the disputed shoal, locally known as Panatag Shoal or Bajo de Masinloc.

Kabayan Party-list Rep. Harry Roque, who was part the President’s delegation to China, claimed the two governments have reached a “modus vivendi” to allow Filipino fishermen to return to the shoal.

But Abella, when asked if there was already an agreement reached on the issue during the President’s China trip, said that “nothing has been official regarding the matter.”

“There’s nothing official regarding that matter. But all we know is based on results, fishermen can now go into those waters,” he added.

A Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman at news briefing Friday declined to directly comment on the reports that Filipino fishermen were returning to Scarborough Shoal. The spokesman, Lu Kang, said the Philippines and China discussed cooperating on fishing during Duterte’s visit.

“I can tell you that both sides remain in communication on that,” he said.

Duterte, who said he discussed fishing rights with Chinese President Xi Jinping during his visit, left Beijing with economic agreements and business deals worth some $24 billion. During the same visit, he announced his “separation” from the US, explaining afterward that he meant his foreign policy wouldn’t always align with Washington.

Since taking office in June, Duterte has raised eyebrows in Washington and elsewhere with a series of frequently coarse remarks about US-Philippines relations, often catching his own aides and officials off guard and raising questions about the solidity of the alliances that the US has attempted to build in East Asia in recent years.

US officials have said that ties with Manila remain strong and that Duterte hasn’t actually done anything to match his rhetoric.

US State Department spokesperson Mark Tone said his government was still assessing reports that Chinese vessels have left the Scarborough Shoal. “We’re still assessing. I’ve seen the comments from Manila about Chinese boats. As you said, they are no longer at the Scarborough Shoal and that Filipino fishing boats have resumed fishing in that area. So still assessing,” said Toner, responding to a question if it was a good sign.

“We hope it’s certainly not a temporary measure. We’d like it to be a sign that China and the Philippines are moving toward an agreement on fishing access at Scarborough reef that would be in accordance with the July 12th arbitral decision,” Toner added.

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  • Yolanda Santos

    China gave its Tuta Duterte a little bone to chew on by allowing our fishermen to fish in our own territorial waters at the Pantag Shoal. Duterte should now send the two ex-US cutters BRP Andres Bonifacio and BRP Gegorio del Pilar on permanent patrol at the Scarborough (Panatag) Shoal so we can exercise sovereignty over this territory.

    But more areas need to be reclaimed. Duterte, while in Beijing, should have told in no uncertain terms the Chinese to get their butts out of the 7 artfificial islands they built in our Exclusive Economic Zone, instead of leaving it to China whether to give these areas back to its rightful owner – the Philippines.

    • 2star

      Why don’t you ride a water jet ski to those islands. : )

      • Sa pool

        Exactly, let these Jaundice keyboard warriors know…

        • 2star

          Sa pool, You are right.

          If Duterte failed in the negotiation, those Jaundice keyboard warriors will make plenty of noise … but the sad case is, Duterte did a successful negotiation and yet Jaundice keyboard warrior like Yolanda, he still tried his best to create nonsense. ( Jaundice = Yellow ). : )

      • Yolanda Santos

        Why me, I did not promise that? Idioterte did!

        • 2star

          Yes President Duterte did promised he will ride a water jet ski to Scarborough only if the negotiation failed but it look like, even before the begin of negotiation, China’s petrol ships already left the area. The reason is because China knew President Duterte is a sovereign/independent President, China knew President Duterte is not a puppet leader ( like most of all the former Presidents).

          About the 7 artificial islands, they were over the 200 nm off Philippine shores… and under Unclos, there is no law that prevent anyone from building artificial islands in international water.

          Yolanda Santos …. you need to do some homework and stop uttering nonsense.

    • marx perfecto garcia

      be patient be happy. duterte will deliver pa more. in 4 months alot has already happened.

      • Yolanda Santos

        Idioterte signed loans and construction contracts with questionable Chinese companies without biddings and due diligence. What does that tell you – those contracts are overpriced and full of kickbacks.

        These anomalous contracts are no different from the corrupt NBN-ZTE deal with the Chinese. The Philippines is at a great disadvantage.

        • 2star

          Don’t bite the hand who is trying to feed you … Yolanda Santos … your ungrateful.

          • Yolanda Santos

            Ungrateful for what, Dutertard? For construction loans with corrupt Chinese companies banned by World Bank and involved in building artificial islands inside our EEZ?

            Why would Idioterte sign loans and overpriced contracts without bidding and due diligence? Because these contracts are full of kickbacks. These contracts will put our country at a disadvantage. Don’t forget – these are loans, UTANG, that needs to be paid back. Use your coconut.

          • Jass Ranoco

            CORRUPTION DRUGS AND CRIMINALITY all forms of ILLEGALS in the Phils must be wipe out under PD30 govt..

          • Yolanda Santos

            Then wipe out Paolo Duterte for using Shabu, per Matobato. Wipe out Dutz also for corruption for having P211 million in just one bank account and accepting a private jet bribe from China.

          • 2star

            Your words ….Wipe out Dutz also for corruption for having P211 million in just one bank account and accepting a private jet bribe from China.

            My reply … any document to show such proof ? I bet you got zero.

          • Yolanda Santos

            Are u Idioterte?

          • 2star

            All you comments were baseless because you don’t have back ups. : )

          • Jass Ranoco

            Bakit masama ba tumanggap ng private plane mula kay Henry Sy bigay yon at hindi naman humingi ng pabor si PD30 hindi katulad sa amo na makapal ang mukha ang bagyong Yolanda Santos Fund nasaan na? BINULSA NG AMO MO..Hindi corrupt si PD30 tandaan mo yan..

          • 2star

            Your words …
            Why would Idioterte sign loans and overpriced contracts without bidding and due diligence? Because these contracts are full of kickbacks. These contracts will put our country at a disadvantage.

            My reply ….
            Do you have any infor about the price of those contracts and do you have any hints on why type of projects are those ? : ) You silly mambo.

          • Yolanda Santos

            Move to China or North Korea, You’ll feel at home there, Commie.

          • 2star

            Your words …For construction loans with corrupt Chinese companies banned by World Bank and involved in building artificial islands inside our EEZ?

            My reply …. Can you name those companies ? I bet you got zero.

          • Yolanda Santos

            You are an ignorant dogsh*t. One Chinese company contracted by Idioterte is banned by the Wold Bank for corrupt practices, while another one is under-capitalized. The third Chinese company hired by Idioterte to do dredging in Davao City was involved in constructing artificial islands inside our EEZ. Most of the Chinese companies are state-owned.

            Before you make stupid comments, read pa more, so you don’t look so dumb.

          • 2star

            All you comments were baseless because you don’t have back ups:)

          • 2star

            Your words …Don’t forget – these are loans, UTANG, that needs to be paid back.

            My reply … You mean when you borrow a loan (utang) and you don’t need to pay back …. well, i guess you are acting like a con man.

          • Yolanda Santos

            You’re a dogsh*t assh*le.

        • marx perfecto garcia

          again be patient and be happy changes are really coming. being allowed to fish in the shoal is a big help to the fiishermen from zambales and pangasinan. are you not happy for these poor citizens of our country who for years have been deprived of a decent income.

          • Yolanda Santos

            Be patient? Those areas belong to our EEZ. Idioterte should have told the Chinese to get their butts out of Panatag and other areas grabbed from us.

          • marx perfecto garcia

            war with china is not good for both our countries. stop being too war freaked. what the world needs is peace among mankind. remember christmas is coming.

          • Yolanda Santos

            Shaming China through the UN is not going to war. Idioterte is just playing the “war” card because he doesn’t have the guts to tell his master China to get its butt out of our EEZ.

          • marx perfecto garcia

            even the us cannot tell china to get its butt out of the scarborough shoal.

          • marx perfecto garcia

            after shaming china does it follow that the fishermen will be free to fish in the disputed areas? if duterte had the guts to say expletives to obama how much more to china.

          • Yolanda Santos

            Because China is a human rights violator too. It massacred hundreds of thousands of Tibetans when it annexed Tibet. It massacred 5,000 democracy-demonstrating students at Tiananmen Square.

          • marx perfecto garcia

            pareho lang sila ng us at russia pero hindi sinasabi ng russia at china na human rights violator si duterte kaya hindi niya minumura ang china at russia. as i was asking after shaming china does it follow that the fishermen will be free to fish in the disputed waters?

          • 2star

            All you comments were baseless because you don’t have back ups. : ))

          • Yolanda Santos

            You are a talking ignoramus.

          • 2star

            All your comments were empty talks … no link, no back up … just seer empty talks. : )

          • marx perfecto garcia

            if all the countries in the world would spend more on food than war machines and equipments i think everyone specially the poor would have food on thier tables.

          • Yolanda Santos

            You should tell that to China which keeps on building bombs when it has 796 million oppressed people living under the poverty line.

          • marx perfecto garcia

            as i have said if all the countries in the world that includes china, russia, the usa etc.

          • marx perfecto garcia

            be patient.

        • marx perfecto garcia

          as to the signing of loans that remains to be seen. give du30 mga 3 years naman to show what he can do. si erap nga you gave him 2 years . obvious naman du30 is more pro poor than erap.

          • Yolanda Santos

            Idioterte is pro-poor? Think again. Instead of increasing the budget of the Department of Health, the id iot decreased its budget by P31 billion in 2017. As a result. more poor will die without getting attended to by physicians.

    • Jass Ranoco

      Why you always comments againts PD30 acheivement in the Asean visit to China, dapat nga magpasalamat ka na bumalik na ang mga Pinoy Fisherman sa Spratly Island sa ginawa ni PD30 kc mula kay Gloria at Aquino hindi man lang nila nagawa ang nagawa ni PD30 Admin. Anong say mo???NEGATIVE pa rin sa kay PD30 kong ganon ayaw mong umunlad ang Pinas dahil ba kay PD30 admin.crab mentality at descrimination ang pinairal mo porke taga-Mindanao ang presidente natin kahit saan lugar sa Pinas nangaling basta maayos, mabuti at maganda ang pamamalakad pabor ako. Wag na tayong magkampi2 sa mga pulitiko ginagawa lang tayong Puhunan. Job well Done Mr PD30 God bless Philippines God bless all Filipinos.Mabuhay..

      • Yolanda Santos

        Dapat ba tayong makiusap para mag fishing sa sarili nating territory?

        • 2star

          What made you think Scarborough Shoal belong to Philippines ? What proof do you have ?

          • Yolanda Santos

            You are a Chinese Communist masquerading as a Filipino. Go back to uour cave.

          • 2star

            What make you think Scarborough Shoal belong to Philippines … any proof or any links ? I bet you got zero.

    • John

      Ok i will contact China embassy and Chinese intelligence not to allow you in Pudong and Hongkong because you are Anti-China! Expect that in your next visit to China Yolanda…

      • Yolanda Santos

        Do that Communist Pinoy. I don’t care. There are many other better countries for me to visit than China.

        • John

          hahaha pikon!

  • Sa pool

    When a good thing happens, still a number of these guys ain’t happy… they still prefer angling on the negative. Seriously did your mothers’ dropped you or what? Can’t you guys just be happy for the fishermen able to go back and have a semblance of normality now? Jeez don’t know which you guys prefer, the ability of the fishermen being able to do what they used to do or you guys prefer war or hostility…

    • Harper

      stick and carrot… this small success can be worrisome.. the shoal has not been settled yet.. lets wait to see what the price for fishing will be.

      • Sa pool

        agreed, but US placed the line on this shoal as “no island building” in the face of Xi Jinping…doubt he is gonna try it.

    • bluestar777

      Hey pal, don’t be just that naive with these trolling Vermins.
      Most everybody have already accepted the fact that:
      The only purpose for existence of these TERMITES
      Is to BAD-MOUTH Digong; thereby, UNDERMINE and DESTROY him
      .
      The chief of that is the one that is just next below
      A bonafide CARD BEARING Yellow Blooded DOG.

  • Paul Parenas

    “Are you going to scarborough shoal?
    Parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme
    Remember me to one who lives there
    She once was a true love of mine………”

  • dan lapid

    talagang natutuwa sila sa ginawa mong hakbang pdu30

  • mean millena

    kahit noon ppa alam nmin na magta tagumpay kang maibalik ang karapatan natin sa panatag shoal..

  • miles magdaong

    siguradong natutuwa sila sa magandang balita na handog ng pangulo natin.

  • chelle lasin

    malaya nrin silang makakapag palaot kung ganun.

    • fred lustan

      wag kang magkampanti binili n yan ng china

  • cris.tore

    ayan magandang simula ito magiging malago na ang bansang pilipinas

  • justin tumunong

    kung kasama natin ang pangulo sa laban tiyak na magtatagumpay ang pilipinas.

  • tristan147

    laht ng ginagawa ng pangulo ay para sa bayan napakabuti niya

  • christian

    maniwala lang tyo sa kakayahn ng pangulo magiging matagumpay ito.

  • julie

    tindi ng pangulo ang galing tlaga ang masasabi ko lang tlaga ang buti niya na leader!

  • jonifiiCuy

    my .tiwala naman ako kay pangulong digong

  • breadWin69

    sawakas kampanti narin ang pilipinong mangingisda sa pangasinan :)

  • bentotpan23

    sana naman iwasan na ang pag gawa ng issue sating pangulo.

  • brenaBoy

    ginagawa lang ng pangulo kung anu ang nararapat

  • vernzeecker,,,

    si digong lang ang nag lakas loob na pumunta ng japan at china para sa kaunlaran ng bansa natin!

  • lindon

    alam ko naman ksing hindi isusuko ng ating pangulo ang pag aari natin.

  • max=ate

    saludo ako sa ating leader,hindi ka napapagod.ginagawa mo ang sinumpaan mo sa ating bansa.

  • cArLos

    malayo ang mararating ng ating bansa kung hahayaan natin si duterte sa mga diskarte nya para mapa unlad ang ating bansa.

  • juan

    hindi naman hahayaan ng ating pangulo na mapunta skanila ang pag aari ng ating bansa.

  • navarro987

    hayaan natin si digong na gumawa ng way para sa ikakabuti natin.

  • Aubb

    Duterte achieved something which no amount of war would achieve had Ph believed US and declared war against China to its own peril.