PBBM admin doing everything to protect Zambales fishermen – Khonghun

photo by Ted Aljibel/Agence France-Presse

THE administration of President Ferdinand “Bongbong” R. Marcos Jr., together with the House of Representatives under the leadership of Speaker Ferdinand Martin G. Romualdez, will do everything in its power to protect Filipino fishermen under threat of detention from China if they continue to fish in the West Philippine Sea (WPS) come June 15.

This is according to Zambales Rep. Jefferson Khonghun during the press conference Friday after the hearing of the House Committees on National Defense and Security and on the West Philippine Sea on the alleged “gentleman’s agreement” between former President Rodrigo Roa Duterte and China on the Ayungin Shoal.

“Ang ating gobyerno sa pangunguna po ng ating Presidente, Presidente Ferdinand ‘Bongbong’ Marcos, at syempre po ng ating Speaker, Speaker Martin Romualdez, ay gagawin po lahat ng kanilang magagawa upang protektahan ang ating mga mangingisda laban sa banta ng China na huhulihin lalong-lalong sa June 15,” Khonghun said.

Part of the solution, he said, involves diplomatic protests that can be lodged against this illegal Chinese action of threatening to detain Filipino fishermen who fish in the Bajo de Masinloc off Zambales, which is within the Philippines’ territory and exclusive economic zone (EEZ).

Also, Khonghun said initiatives in the House of Representatives to fund additional vessels for the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) and the Philippine Navy in next year’s national budget will strengthen the capabilities of the Philippines in protecting its fishermen.

“Nakahanda ang ating pamahalaan na protektahan ang ating mga mangingisda. Lalo-lalo na po rito ang commitment po ng ating pamahalaan sa pangunguna po ng ating Speaker upang magdagdag ng mga kagamitan na pandagat upang maprotektahan ang ating mga mangingisda,” he said.

“Kailangan natin ipagtanggol ang ating soberanya at ating teritoryo. Nakita naman natin yung deklarasyon ng ating Presidente na hindi siya papayag na any inch ng ating teritoryo ay mapunta sa mga banyaga. So wala tayong isusuko na kahit anong teritoryo sa Tsina,” he added.

Sta. Rosa City Rep. Dan Fernandez advised fishermen to fish in groups as it may deter China from detaining them because there is strength in numbers.

“Ang aking advice sa ating mga mangingisda, sama-sama sila. Alam nyo pag- consolidated sila, the more na magkakaroon ng deterrent ‘yan sa magpapatupad ng pagbabawal ng pangingisda sa ating mga mangingisda dito,” Fernandez said.

“I believe that together we will be having a form of strength na mapapakita natin sa ating Chinese counterpart,” he added.

Leyte Rep. Richard Gomez, for his part, encouraged the government to continue the bilateral talks with China to prevent the latter from detaining Filipino fishermen.

“We will have to encourage yung continued bilateral talks, lalo na may ganitong pananakot na mangyayari within the next few weeks,” Gomez said.

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