China allows Filipinos to fish at Scarborough Shoal

June 26, 2016 at 8:02 pm Leave a comment

By Mortz C. Ortigoza
INFANTA– “Before the May 9 elections, the Chinese allowed us to fish near Scarborough Shoal,” said Gilbert Baoya,50, a fishing boat captain.boat scarboroughOFF TO THE CHINESE-SEIZED SCARBOROUGH. The crew of this fishig craft, with canoes on both of its floaters, prepare for the 18-hour trip to the Scarborough Shoal that is disputed by the Philippines and China. Fishermen in Barangay Cato in Infanta, Pangasinan said since May 1 the Chinese Coast Guard has been allowing  them to fish at the Shoal. MORTZ C. ORTIGOZA

Baoya told local and foreign reporters that he and his crew of 11 fishermen have already sailed thrice last month to the Shoal with their fishing vessel Rubina.
The locals, who are mostly Visayan from Surigao and Bohol called the Shoal as “Karburo.”
“We spent five days there before we returned home,” he said.
He said he is employed by businessman who owned the P400,000-fishing vessel.
Village council member Joey Legaspi said each of the crew earns around three thousand pesos per trip.
He  said the fishermen could have an average three trips in a month.
As Legaspi was being interviewed, Baoya is preparing the Rubina for its 18 hours trip to the reef by stocking the boat with blocks of ice, and tightening the ropes that  connect with the two canoes above the two floaters.
“The Chinese were hapless to block these canoes as they sailed to shallow waters near the shoal,” said by a fisherman in Sta Cruz, Zambales when the media men and the group of Dagupan City Mayor Belen T. Fernandez visited him.

Because of the ban since 2012 by the Chinese against fishermen in the Philippines, marine creatures become abundant there.
“One haul of a boat  with two- ton of fish can peg one hundred forty thousand pesos. Filipino and Vietnamese fishermen caught there yellow fin tuna, talakitok, mulmol, loro, bakalaw, a lot of fish there, they were fat,” Legaspi said.
He said in one trip to the reef,  the cost of production including the diesel and salaries of the crew,  reaches from sixty to seventy thousand pesos.
Baoya said in one of the trips, there were 30 fishing vessels from Sta. Cruz and Masinloc in Zambales and this town that sailed to the disputed Shoal almost 200 kilometers from here.
“In January to April we were still harassed by the Chinese Coast Guard,” he cited.
He disclosed that the two Coast Guard ships watched closely the ridges while a small Chinese craft patrol inside water that cuts through the shoal.
“Go away, go away!”  Baoya recalled the shout to them in haphazard English by armed Chinese in a motorized rubber boat.
He said one of the men in the rubber boat brandished an assault rifle to scare them off.
Legaspi said the guards threw stones as big as a fist to shove them away.
“They (fishermen) also retaliated by throwing the same size of stones to the Chinese,” he said.
The stones the Filipinos brought there were supposedly use to submerge their fishing nets to catch fish, Baoya said.
“They used slingshots, too, against the Chinese” Legaspi, who once owned five outriggers, referred to the gutsy fishermen from the two villages in Zambales and here.
Baoya said the Chinese fishermen are after the giant clams and eels.
“They fetched hefty prices in China,” he continued.
Efren Corones, a 54, from Masinloc, Zambales bartered with the Chinese sacks of rice, noodles, and other products whenever  he and his colleagues catch clams and eels.
The Chinese believe that these creatures are aphrodisiac if not an elixir.
“The Chinese and Vietnamese fishermen are nice to us probably because of our similar condition. It was the coast guards who were harsh to us”  he told Mayor Fernandez, who visited the place so she could document it for a speaking engagement at the United Nations.
Corones said cashiered Marine Captain Nicanor Faeldon told him to rent an outrigger so he and his group could sail to the disputed shoal and protest Mainland China’s encroachment to the Philippines territory.
Faeldon was just appointed by President-Elect Rodrigo Duterte to head the Bureau of Customs.

Entry filed under: News.

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