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Enrile is worried China depleting fish in WPS but backs Duterte’s diplomatic approach to territorial dispute

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Senatorial bet Juan Ponce Enrile urged the government to address the unrestricted entry of Chinese fishing vessels inside the West Philippine Sea.

In a statement Enrile said that if left unresolved, the possible intervention of Chinese vessels in the fishing grounds would deplete the supply in the areas.

Enrile urged government to look into reports that fishermen were being driven away by Chinese vessels in the vicinity of Pag-asa Island near Palawan.

During a visit to Bicol, Enrile addressed the concerns of the local fishing industry, particularly the need to curb illegal fishing.

“We need to protect the Bicol waters, particularly the Burias-Ticao Pass which is considered one of the most productive fishing grounds in the country. The government should come in to improve sustainable fishing in the region. If we care for the richness of biodiversity in the region, we are helping fishermen who are harvesting legally and responsibly and we are also providing more attractions in the tourism industry,” he said.

“We need to educate the leaders in Bicol’s fishing industry to practice sustainable fishing so that we can protect our available supply in the long-term. We also need to enforce stricter patrolling and monitoring of illegal and unregulated fishing in the area,” Enrile added.

“Once these reports are officially verified, we must resolve the issue through diplomacy,” Enrile said.

“We have to deal with China this way, because we do not have any force to challenge China. This is why I’m advocating a closer relationship with China,” he added.