Big PH boats still not allowed inside Scarborough Shoal

Despite the announcement of President Duterte that Filipino fishermen are now allowed to go to the Scarborough shoal, Filipino fishermen still face many difficulties because of the restrictions of this agreement.

After President Duterte’s visit to China last October 18-21, he came back with an announcement to the Filipino fishermen community that they might soon regain their fishing rights at the Scarborough Shoal and that Chinese President Xi Jinping also asked the Chinese fishermen to leave the shoal.


However, in a close interview by ABS-CBN, where the news team went with the fishermen to the disputed waters, they have witnessed the difficulties the Filipino fishermen are still going through.

While Filipino fishermen are now “free” to fish near the mouth of the shoal without being shooed away by Chinese vessels, they are still not granted access inside the lagoon, locally known as the Panatag Shoal.

Not being allowed entrance inside the shoal where the water is relatively calm, Filipino fishermen are left with no choice but to seek refuge at the edge of the shoal at night, where rocks and big waves can cause harm to their boats.


“Kung sa loob sana tayo, safety sana kaya lang hindi naman pwede. Baka itaboy na naman tayo,” said the boat’s captain Bodog Lebios Sr.

“Hindi naman namin hinahangad ma’am na aalis yung mga vessel (Chinese coast guard) nila, yung mga barko nila, basta sa amin ma’am nga lang yung free kaming pumasok at pumunta rito ma’am,” said another fisherman.

Getting inside Scarborough Shoal does not only mean the Filipino fishermen’s access to their source of livelihood, but also access to their safety while fishing.


Sources: (,


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