Philippine defence chief condemns China’s aggression against Filipino fishermen in Scarborough Shoal

In response to a video that surfaced, depicting a local Filipino fisherfolk being forced away by the Chinese coast guard, Secretary Teodoro emphasized that China “has no business harassing Filipino fishermen”.

Defense Secretary Gilberto Teodoro Jr. strongly condemned China’s recent act of aggression against Filipino fishermen in Scarborough Shoal, within Manila’s 270-kilometer exclusive economic zone. The condemnation came during the defence forum of the Manila Overseas Press Club in Makati City on Tuesday night, where Secretary Teodoro expressed concern over China’s continued harassment of Filipino fishermen in the resource-rich region, which is locally known as Bajo de Masinloc.

In response to a video that surfaced, depicting a local Filipino fisherfolk being forced away by the Chinese coast guard, Secretary Teodoro emphasized that China “has no business harassing Filipino fishermen”.

“We need to do those protests so as not to acquiesce and we have several measures that we are doing on a sustainable basis that we can manage,” stated Secretary Teodoro during the forum. As per the defence minister the Fisheries and Aquatic Resources Bureau has a program to organize the fishermen of Filipinos and provide them with needed and necessary sea services and actually to even increase their capacity.

Philippines’ Armed forces are also undertaking a new defence concept that is called the ‘comprehensive archipelagic defence concept’, he stated. Teodoro also said, “So rather than an inward-looking defence concept, we are evolving into a defence concept, which projects our power into an area where we must, by constitutional fiat and duty, protect and preserve our resources.”

He also remarked that the Philippines does not want to fight with China but the latter must adhere to international laws if it wants to be respected as a superpower. He also added by saying that it could not be based on formless dialogue where one party did not cease to expand its area of influence illegally to the detriment of a smaller country.

Teodoro again asserted that if they did not stand up to the illegal and unilateral encroachment of these resources through a distorted nine- or 10-dash line, which nobody in the world accepts, then they would be guilty of acquiescence and they could be open to a rewriting of international law through constant practice by a stronger power, which the Marcos administration had sworn not to do.

He also stated, “I do hope that there is some sanity and some sincerity behind the word of peaceful intent to avoid an armed conflict.”