Rody to forge agreement with China to ease Filipino fishermen’s plight
TO ease the plight of Filipino fishermen, President Rodrigo “Rody” Duterte will forge a provisional fishing agreement with Chinese government ahead of his scheduled trip to China this year.
Foreign Affairs Sec. Perfecto Yasay Jr. said the government is now seeking such agreement to help the plight of Filipino fishermen who have been affected by the ongoing territorial disputes in the West Philippine Sea.
“We should create an environment under which we can formally move forward the bilateral negotiations with China. We would like China to agree with a provisional agreement that would allow our fishermen to go back to our traditional fishing grounds. Under the arbitral ruling, they have no right to drive them out. We want to make sure that China would agree until we move forward with the permanent solution,” Yasay told lawmakers in defending the P16.3-billion DFA budget under the P3.35-trillion General Appropriations Bill (GAB).
Yasay responded to the questions of Kabayan party-list Rep. Harry Roque who pressed the government about its actions on the matter.
The DFA secretary said the Duterte administration “must have target agreements that will ensure implementation of the fishing rights.”
“We can’t put a timetable... We are even thinking about the possibility in the future for the President to make the visit to China. But we would hope that before this visit can be made, this provisional arrangements can be done with the end in view of beginning formal talks for the resolution of this dispute,” Yasay said.
During last Monday’s National Heroes’ Day celebration attended by members of the diplomatic corps, including Chinese Ambassador Zhao Jianhua at the Libingan ng mga Bayani in Fort Bonifacio, Taguig, President Duterte appealed to China to treat Filipinos as brothers, not enemies and allow Filipino fishermen be allowed to fish in the country’s territory.
Yasay reiterated that President Duterte will continue to find peaceful resolution to the conflict.
“We will not be engaging China in any shooting war in this particular instance. We will exercise maximum tolerance, restraint and sobriety for this purpose. Our task at this point is to make sure that the diplomatic processes that we will be embarking and continue to embark will result in the kind of objectives we would like to achieve,” said Yasay.