China’s harvest of clams in Panatag Shoal illegal

April 18, 2019
Salvador Panelo

MALACAÑANG yesterday slammed  Chinese vessels for harvesting giant clams in the Scarborough or Panatag Shoal, saying it is a violation to Philippine territory and sovereignty.

“Because if it’s our territory, therefore it is an affront to our territory and to our sovereignty,” said Presidential Spokesman Salvador Panelo.

Panelo said Foreign Affairs Sec. Teddyboy Locsin will take legal action after filing a note verbale against the Chinese activities that endanger maritime resources in the shoal being claimed by the Philippines.

However, Panelo refused to preempt Locsin’s next move because “that is his territory.”

“China, as far as it is concerned, it owns the vast South China Sea, hence, it will be performing acts of ownership or sovereignty over those areas. In other words, they are just being consistent with themselves. Eh tayo rin, we have to be consistent with ours. As far as we are concerned, that is ours so we will be objecting to any intrusion into our own territory,” added Panelo.

Meanwhile, the Supreme Court (SC) was asked yesterday to compel the government to protect disputed shoals in the West Philippine Sea where Chinese fishermen have reportedly been harvesting marine resources.

In a 34-page petition filed through the Integrated Bar of the Philippines, a group of fishermen from Palawan and Zambales asked the SC to issue a Writ of Kalikasan and writ of continuing mandamus ordering the government to protect, preserve and rehabilitate the environment in Scarborough or Panatag Shoal, Ayungin Shoal and Mischief Reef or Panganiban Reef.

The petitioners sought relief from the SC against what they called “neglect of performance of the duties of the government in violation of environmental laws resulting in environmental destruction of damage in the shoals.”

With Hector Lawas