Gazmin: Forces to secure fishermen vs China's new law

Posted at 01/16/14 10:03 PM

MANILA - Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin said the Philippines will not follow China's new fishing law that covers the country's own jurisdiction.

In fact, government security forces may even escort Filipino fishermen who want to go out to disputed waters.

"We will not follow their rules in our own territory," Gazmin told reporters at Fort Magsaysay, Nueva Ecija on Thursday.

He said there is no need to seek permission from China. “They do not own our fishing grounds. That's ours, okay?" he said.

The government is standing by its position that it will not recognize China’s new fisheries law now that the latter has insisted it has jurisdiction over Hainan province, which also includes Philippine territories.

In a statement earlier, Foreign Affairs spokesman Raul Hernandez said China has already clarified the issue and said that “the new regulation is an implementation of China's fisheries law and covers the jurisdiction of Hainan province.”

He said the department is protesting the latest action from China “since the jurisdiction of Hainan province included the PH territories and impinges on the PH [exclusive economic zone].”

He said the Philippines "calls on China to conform to international law particularly UNCLOS.”

The new fishing regulation over the West Philippine Sea (South China Sea) requires foreign fishing vessels to secure permission from China when entering the disputed waters.