- Senate President Vicente “Tito” Sotto III made a controversial statemnt regarding the the issue of Chinese venturers in the Philippine exclusive economic zone (EEZ)
- His statement gained flak from critics and netizens
- However, he clarified that his statement was a “tongue in cheek”
Senate President Vicente “Tito” Sotto III gained flak from critics and netizens for his statements regarding the issue of Chinese vessels venturing into the Philippine exclusive economic zone (EEZ).
Sotto said on June 27, Thursday. that he does not “see anything wrong” with the presence of foreign fishermen in the Philippine EEZ and insisted that it is “very difficult” to determine the exclusivity of Philippine waters and explained that the “the fish could be coming from China.”
His statements defended President Rodrigo Duterte who said earlier that the Chinese can continue fishing in Philippine waters because of the friendship between the two countries.
“It’s very difficult to say that there is exclusivity when it’s underwater,” Sotto told ANC’s Early Edition.
“The fish could be coming from China and the fish from the Philippines could be going to China,” Sotto said.
“If we want to be technical about it, relate it to the constitutionality of what should be owned by us, there are exclusive types of fish that are only found in China but can be found here because of migration perhaps. It could be a very good test case that it is a constitutional violation,” he added.
His statements trended online and became the butt of jokes by Twitter netizens. They even made hilarious memes about it.
Ay oo nga noh?? Nakawala lang sa malaking fishpen ng China yung mga isda na mahuhuli sa WPS / Recto Bank. We should have realized this sooner and thanked China for its generosity. But then again, we're all just "stupid", and not as brilliant as Supreme Leader https://t.co/b7OMCRRJUM
— Tony Velasquez (@KakanTuring) June 27, 2019
Tito Sotto: "The fish could be coming from China and the fish from the Philippines could be going to China"
Fishermen and fishes in the EEZ: pic.twitter.com/bfvOGXidOy
— Vincenz (@vincenzvangogh) June 27, 2019
“THE FISH COULD BE FROM CHINA.”
Homaygahd, Tito Sotto. It’s impressive how you act like your stupidity is a virtue. So, using your logic, we can go and fish anywhere we want, too?
Think, man. It won’t hurt you. https://t.co/absKqa7LJW
— Miss Maggie (@MiaMagdalena) June 27, 2019
It’s a close fight between Tito Sotto and Rodrigo Duterte!
— Gideon Lasco (@gideonlasco) June 27, 2019
Yas, #TitoSotto saying that we can't be sure we own what's underwater in Reed Bank because the fish move from one area to the next, and some fish can only be found in China, but they might swim into our EEZ.
Good morning, how's your Thursday?
— katrinastuartsantiago (@radikalchick) June 27, 2019
thank u for sharing the 'galaxy brain' nugget of wisdom, mr. tito sotto- it's very thought-provoking! it makes you wonder: do fish have a border immigration when they swim through different territories? how do we ascertain which country the free-roaming fish really originated? 🤔 https://t.co/1p0yS0OTeI
— tired millennial 🌟🥞 (@lou_quorice) June 27, 2019
#BreakingNewz: Senator Tito Sotto will file a bill in congress requiring fish coming from China to carry Chinese passports while fish from the PHL will be required to carry NSO birth certificates. pic.twitter.com/CweYAhuT1b
— WhatAWasteofAdMoney (@wawam) June 27, 2019
Before you eat that fish, ask yourself: Did it come from #China? Did it illegally swim into Philippine waters? And is it TRULY our fish to fry? And then ask yourself: how stupid is our #SenatePresident? #TitoSotto #Senate2019 #EyesOnTheSenate
— katrinastuartsantiago (@radikalchick) June 27, 2019
Imagine our JHS Economics lessons:
"So if fish from China swam to Philippine waters and then was caught by a Filipino fishing boat but was then caught by a Chinese vessel that totaled the Filipino fishing boat — is the fish part of the GNI, GDP or both?" pic.twitter.com/ZguKWxP8AR
— Carlo Ang (@JohnCharlesThe) June 27, 2019
Chinese Fish should be barred from entering the EEZ of the Philippines without securing a prior approval from the bureau of aquatic immigration of there visas to swim around WPS.#BulagaanSaSenadohttps://t.co/to6A49r0hr
— SaKantoNgTinio (@castor_tinio) June 27, 2019
However, Sotto clarified that his controversial remarks were meant “tongue in cheek” which means it must not be taken seriously.
“My comments on WPS [West Philippine Sea] and its resources was a tongue in cheek statement. Sadly konti lang nakaintindi,” Sotto told reporters while addressing his critics.
The tension between the Philippines and China was resurrected after the Reed Bank incident. It refers to the sinking of F/B Gem-Ver, a Philippine fishing boat anchored in Reed Bank in the West Philippine Sea after being rammed by a Chinese vessel, Yuemaobinyu 42212, during the early morning hours of 9 June. Twenty-two Filipino fishermen were left stranded at sea by the Chinese vessel.
Under the constitution, Filipino citizens have the exclusive right to use and enjoy marine wealth in archipelagic waters, including the EEZ.
This is consistent with international law, United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).
Under Article 56, Part V of the UNCLOS, the coastal state, in this case the Philippines, has “sovereign rights for the purpose of exploring and exploiting, conserving and managing the natural resources, whether living or non-living, of the waters superjacent to the seabed and of the seabed and its subsoil, and with regard to other activities for the economic exploitation and exploration of the zone, such as the production of energy from the water, currents and winds.”