Masinloc mayor hits China’s Navy presence in town

May 31, 2015 at 9:51 pm Leave a comment

By Mortz C. Ortigoza

LINGAYEN – The presence of Mainland Chinese in the West Philippine Sea is not only the problem of the fisherfolk in Masinloc, Zambales but of the people of the Philippines, Masinloc Mayor Desiree Edora said.
Edora, who was here for the Fish Producers Forum, said the fishermen chased by the motor boats of the Chinese Navy are not only from her town but fishermen from Sual, Bolinao, and other towns of Pangasinan.
She said the aqua rich Bajo de Masinloc in Scarborough Shoal where the Chinese Navy has strong presence is 15 to 18 hours ride by a small boat during fair weather from her town.

Masinloc, Zambales Mayor Desiree Edora.

Masinloc, Zambales Mayor Desiree Edora.

The water around the Bajo de Masinloc (Under Masinloc in English), she stressed, has been the bread and butter of more than 2000 fisher folks.
Masinloc has 47,000 population.
Edora said the stand-off with the Chinese, who travelled 467 miles from Mainland China, started in 2012.
Fishermen have been reporting to Edora sightings not only of the Chinese but Vietnamese trawl fishers who exploit the water of Scarborough Shoal, a part of this town since the time of the Philippines Spanish colonizer in the 18th Century.
The Shoal is only 123 miles of West Subic Bay – a former U.S Naval Base.
“Bajo de Masinloc, that name, has been written on the old maps,” she said.
According to Wikipidia several official Philippine maps published by Spain and United States in 18th and 20th centuries show Scarborough Shoal as Philippine territory. The 18th-century map “Carta hydrographica y chorographica de las Islas Filipinas” (1734) shows the Shoal then was named as Panacot Shoal. The map also shows the shape of the shoal as consistent with the current maps available as today. In 1792, another map drawn by the Malaspina expedition and published in 1808 in Madrid, Spain also showed Bajo de Masinloc as part of Philippine territory.

The Department of Foreign Affairs of the Philippines also claims that the name Bajo de Masinloc identifies the shoal as a particular political subdivision of the Philippine Province of Zambales, known as Masinloc.
Dora said her fishermen told her that the Vietnamese got powerful search lights.
“Actually hindi lang naman sa Zambales iyan, sa buong Pilipinas iyan. Kahit diyan sa Infanta, Sual, Bolinao”, she said in Filipino.
Bajo de Masinloc has been claimed by China based on its Nine-Dotted Map. It refers to the demarcation line used initially by the government of the Republic of China (ROC / Taiwan), and subsequently also by the government of the People’s Republic of China (PRC), for their claims of the major part of the South China Sea (SCS).The contested area in the SCS includes the Paracel Islands, the Spratly Islands, and various other areas including the Pratas Islands, the Macclesfield Bankand the Scarborough Shoal.

Entry filed under: News.

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