Palace: BFAR helping Filipino fishermen affected by maritime dispute in West PHL Sea

May 27, 2013 11:58 pm 

MANILA, May 27 — The Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources is helping Filipino fishermen affected by the maritime disputes in the West Philippine Sea, a Palace official said on Monday.

Deputy Presidential Spokesperson Abigail Valte said during the regular press briefing in Malacanang that the BFAR had already deployed aggregate fishing devices called "payao" in the waters off western Luzon to help local fishermen who were affected by the maritime disputes in the Scarborough Shoal or Scarborough Reef also known as Panatag Shoals and Bajo de Masinloc.

"Iyong mga payao po na tumutulong doon sa mga mangingisda natin ay nandun pa para hindi na sila lumayo mula sa pampang," Valte said.

The payao, each composed of a metallic float –an “anchor” made of stone, rope and leaf fronds– will enable small-scale fishermen catch big fish without having to go to the Scarborough Reef.

Valte said the BFAR had also encouraged local fishermen to find alternative fishing grounds.

"Hindi naman ibig sabihin na wala na pong ibang lugar," she said.

The Aquino administration remains steadfast in using diplomatic solutions in resolving the maritime disputes in the West Philippine Sea, Valte said.

She said the government opted not to respond to provocative statements and provocative actions that would tend to escalate the situation.

"We have consistently reiterated that ‘what is ours, remains ours’, but there is a deliberate choice to avoid or to not respond to any provocative actions. We’ve decided to take it to the proper forum. We’ve chosen to take it to the arbitral tribunal and we are pursuing that particular action," Valte said.

The government will adhere to a rules-based approach in finding a peaceful solution to the maritime disputes, including the Ayungin Shoal, Valte noted.

"I will have to defer to the DFA on that. As far as I know, they have already filed the diplomatic protest," she said.

According to news reports, the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) said the Philippines has filed a diplomatic protest to complain China’s encroachment into the Philippines’ established maritime borders, with the entry of at least three government ships around the Ayungin Shoal. (PNA)

HBC/PCOO/SSC

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