DAVAO CITY, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte will be signing an executive order to declare Panatag shoal a marine sanctuary where fishing will no longer be allowed, said Security Adviser Hermogenes Esperon, Jr. Sunday.
Esperon, who joined the Philippines delegation and the President at the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation Leaders’ Meeting in Peru, said the EO will be applicable to both Filipino and Chinese fishermen.
Panatag Shoal, also known as Scarborough Shoal, has 124 nautical miles from Zambales province. Its old name, Bajo de Masinloc which means Lower Masinloc, falls under Masinloc municipality in Zambales, while, China calls it Huangyan Dao.
In a statement from Malacañang, it said the unilateral declaration “has been relayed to Chinese President Xi Jinping during the two leaders’ bilateral meeting held at the sidelines of the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Leaders’ Meeting.”
Presidential Communications Secretary Martin Andanar said that President Xi “hoped to create something favorable out of this.”
Andanar said the Chinese official said they will mobilize government forces to promote the agreements between China and the Philippines and “step up guidance to create a favorable environment.”
“That’s what he said after President Duterte mentioned his unilateral declaration to make it a marine sanctuary,” Andanar said in a statement Monday.
Panatag Shoal, locally called by residents as Kalburo, is an abundant fishing ground for Filipinos, who were previously blocked by Chinese Coast Guards from entering the shoal.
Duterte was able to discuss to Xi about fishing rights during his official visit to China last month.
The Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague, Netherlands ruled in favor of the Philippines over the West Philippine Sea dispute between China. The Arbitral Tribunal Award released on July 12 said China’s “nine-dash line” has no legal basis.
It also found China has violated Philippines’ sovereign rights in its exclusive economic zone by: 1) interfering with Philippine fishing and petroleum exploration, 2) constructing artificial islands and 3) failing to prevent Chinese fishermen from fishing in the zone. (davaotoday.com)