Fishermen slam US interference

    CITY OF SAN FERNANDO – A fisherfolk group lashed at the US government for allegedly interfering anew in the Scarborough Shoal issue amid the already unhampered fishing activities of Filipino fishermen who used to be shooed away by the Chinese Coast Guard in the disputed seas.

    The fisherfolk group Pambansang Lakas ng Mamamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya) decried reports that the US would verify the report of the Philippine Coast Guard that Chinese fleets have not been sighted at Scarborough Shoal since Wednesday.

    “Why would the US even bother to verify if this is true? They have nothing to do anymore in the issue of the dispute much more now that we have partially settled it without their help. We urge the US to take its warmongering-hands off the Scarborough Shoal issue. Their continuous meddling might pose flaws on our peaceful and diplomatic talks with Beijing,” Fernando Hicap, Pamalakaya chair, said in a statement.

    Pamalakaya reported that since Tuesday, Filipino fishermen have been able to fish in the Scarborough Shoal, as it related this development to Pres. Duterte’s state visit to China on October 18-21.

    “The Philippines and China have yet to form an official agreement on the use of Scarborough but Pamalakaya sees this as a welcome development after China had aggressively occupied the West Philippine Sea in 2012 and harassing and preventing Filipino fishermen from access to Scarborough waters,” Pamalakaya said.

    “We have proved that we can resolve an external conflict on our own without having to rely on other country’s military support especially from the US. Letting the US meddle in the issue will bring back the tensions with China so it is better to keep them out of bounds,” Hicap said.

    “We call on all the patriotic forces to actively condemn US intervention both on our external and internal affairs and frustrate its planned sabotage of our peaceful conclusion in the sea row in the name of maintaining their military and economic shift to the region,” Hicap said.


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