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Protect them! VP Robredo shares sad story of Filipino fisherman driven away from Scarborough Shoal

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Filipino fishermen continue to be driven away by China from their traditional fishing grounds in Scaborough Shoal.

Vice President Leni Robredo hopes that they will be protected, especially since the Philippines has its victory in the Permanent Court of Arbitration to rely on.

In a Facebook post, Robredo shared the story of Ernie Egana, a fisherman from Zambales who has been going to Scarborough Shoal since 1994.

Egana told the VP that in 2018, the Chinese Coast Guard prevented him and other fishermen from entering Scarborough Shoal, a rich source of fish that also has less turbulent waters.

The Chinese, which has vessels anchored in the area, continues to keep them away from t he shoal, he said.

There were also times when the Chinese Coast Guard took their equipment and catch even when they were anchored outside the shoal.

The fishermen were only left with noodles and a bottle of alcohol, he recalled.

They reported the incident to authorities but nothing came of it, he said.

Robredo said Egana’s story moved her daughter Tricia to tears, but she was angered by his experience.

He and other Filipino fishermen have the right to fish in waters within the country’s exclusive economic zone, she said.

Noting that the anniversary of the Philippines’ arbitral tribunal win against China is coming up, she hoped that this legal victory would be put to good use.

It’s time to protect our people from China!

“Ernie Egana was our featured guest in our radio program this morning. Habang iniinterview ko siya, iyak ng iyak si Tricia sa tabi ko kasi naawa siya sa kuwento.

Isa siya sa mga mangingisda sa San Salvador, Masinloc, Zambales. Mula 1994, nangingisda na sila sa Scarborough Shoal at yun yung talaga pinagkukunan nila ng hanapbuhay.

Nagkukuwento siya na nung 2018, binawalan na sila ng Chinese Coast Guard na pumasok sa loob ng shoal kung saan maganda ang supply ng isda at hindi delikado para sa kanila na mangisda dahil tahimik ang dagat sa loob. Sa labas kasi ng shoal, maalon kaya mahirap para sa kanila. May dalawang malaking Chinese Coast Guard vessel daw sa loob ng shoal na naka anchor at silang mga Pilipinong mangingisda ang pinagbabawalan.

Hindi huminto sa pagbabawal mangisda sa kanila. May gabi pa daw na habang naka angkla mga banca nila sa labas ng shoal, kinuha ng mga Chinese Coast Guard ang mga gamit nila at mga nahuling isda. Iniwanan lang daw sila ng noodles at isang boteng alak.

Nakakagalit na nangyayari ito sa loob ng ating EEZ na dapat may karapatan ang mga mangingisda natin maghanapbuhay. Nagsumbong naman daw sila sa authorities pero wala daw nangyari at hindi sila natulungan.

Bukas, July 12, 5th anniversary na ng Arbitral Ruling. Magamit sana natin ang ating pagkapanalo sa pagtatanggol ng mga mangingisda natin tulad ni Ernie,” Robredo posted.