- Fishermen in Subic, Zambales announced the good news that China has already allowed them to go in the Panatag Shoal and catch fish in the West Philippine Sea
- The Philippine Coast Guard and the Chinese Navy had a standoff in Panatag Shoal since April 2012 when the Philippine force has spotted Chinese fishermen gathering marine species in the said area
- President Rodrigo Duterte earlier asked China to permit Filipino fishermen to resume fishing in the disputed area before he officially assumed office
China has finally permitted Filipino fishermen to enter the Panatag Shoal (Scarborough Shoal or Bajo de Masinloc) and fish in the West Philippine Sea.
Fisher folks in Subic, Zambales shared the good news noting that after four long years of being chased away by Chinese Coast Guard, Beijing has allowed them to go in the disputed area.
Since fishing is the main source of livelihood for several people in Zambales, the thought of being granted to fish again in the disputed water means a lot to them. It foretells big improvement to their means of living.
They will be able to catch big fishes again like maya-maya, talakitok and lapu-lapu from the shoal.
Way back April 2012, Chinese fishermen were seen by Philippine force collecting marine species in the area. Since then, the Chinese Navy and Philippine Coast Guard had a standoff in Panatag Shoal.
President Rodrigo Duterte has previously requested China to allow Filipino fishermen to continue catching fishes in Scarborough Shoal in the West Philippines Sea even before he took oath as the new Chief Executive last June 30.
The Panatag Shoal which is a triangle of small islands, is part of the Philippines territory under the 150-square-kilometer lagoon within the Philippines’ 200-nautical-mile exclusive economic zone in the West Philippine Sea according to the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).
On the other hand, China still declares ownership of the area noting that it discovered the shoal during the Yuan Dynasty in the 13 century.
Last July 16, the Permanent Court of Arbitration ruled in favor of the Philippines. The arbitral tribunal said that the disputed territorial area is not South China Sea but West Philippine Sea.