Liberty to fish started before May 9 election
By Mortz C. Ortigoza
INFANTA, Pangasinan – “Before the May 9 election the Chinese nonchalantly allowed us to fish near Scarborough Shoal,” said recently by Gilbert Baoya, a dark skinned and huge fifty years old boat captain to foreign and local media men who visited Barangay Cato here.
OFF TO THE CHINESE SEIZED SCARBOROUGH. The crew of the craft, with its canoes on both of its floaters, prepare for the 18 hours trip to the Philippines and Chinese disputed Scarborough Shoal. Fishermen in Barangay Cato in Infanta, Pangasinan said that since May 1 the Chinese Coast Guard nonchalantly allowed them to fish at the Shoal. MORTZ C. ORTIGOZA
According to Baoya he and his crew of 11 fishermen had already sailed thrice last month to the Shoal with their five tons capable fishing outrigger 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 as a captain he was paid by the businessman who owned the four hundred thousand pesos worth boat eight thousand pesos per trip.
Village council member Joey Legaspi said that each of the crew earns around three thousand pesos per trip.
He cited that the fishermen could have an average three trips in a month.
As Legaspi was being interviewed, Baoya had been preparing the Rubina for its 18 hours trip to the reef by stocking the boat with blocks of ice, delivered by a truck from the ice plant, and tightened its 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 cited that in one trip to the reef the capitalist’s cost of production including the diesel and salaries of the crew reached between sixty to seventy thousand pesos.
Baoya said that in one of the trips there were 30 fishing vessels from Sta. Cruz and Masinloc in Zambales and here 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 coral atoll while a small Chinese craft patrol the 9 to 13 meters deep lagoon inside.
“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.