Even without the nod of the DFA
By Mortz C. Ortigoza
DAGUPAN CITY – The leaders of the National Movement for Food Sovereignty (NMFS) and the Green Peace mulls to sail to the disputed Scarborough Reef even without the permission of the Department of Foreign Affairs.
|Green Peace's ship. Photo Credit: Inhabitat.com|
Ka Iza Gonzales of the NMFS said the plan is for a fact finding mission for Filipino fishermen who are banned by the Chinese navy there to fish.
“Puwede naman po, kaya po isa po itong hakbang para alamin po iyong mga mangingisda natin sa Pangasinan wala na silang nahuhuli. Pumapalaot po sila pero pagdating ho sa laot tinataboy ho sila, malaki ho ang problema (We can do it, that is why this is our step to inquire why fishermen in Pangasinan have no catch anymore. They went to the high sea but upon reaching there the Chinese drove them away. That is a big problem),” Gonzales said when told not to ask the imprimatur of DoF that was lukewarm to the scheme but instead go ahead with the plan to go to the disputed shoal known among the locals as Panatag.
Gonzales was recently brought here by the Green Peace to drum up the threat by the Chinese and the poor state of Filipino fishermen.
Green Peace is an organization that protects and conserves the environment.
What prompted Gonzales to participate for a fact finding mission was because fishermen in Alaminos City and Infanta in Pangasinan and in Santa Cruz and Masinloc in Zambales suffer.
The fish rich Shoal is only 240 kilometers from Masinloc and it is 947 kilometers from the nearest Chinese island Hainan.
She cited fishermen in Zambales plan to stage a protest because they have been hurting since 2012.
She said fishermen in Alaminos City are relegated to service the tourists in the overcrowded dinghy industry there.
“Just like fishermen in Zambales, Alaminos fishermen could no longer catch fish because of the Chinese,” she cited.
The Scarborough Shoal standoff between China and the Philippines began on April 8, 2012 over the Philippine Navy apprehension of eight mainland Chinese fishing vessels in the disputed territory.
Before this problem spawned into immeasurable proportions, the Philippines agreed on that year to withdraw her Coast Guard ship's Pampanga as the Chinese would did the same. But the latter breached the agreement thus the presence of her navy and coast guard ships there now.