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Netizens lambast Sen. Tito Sotto for having no problem with allowing Chinese fishermen in PH waters

  • 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.

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.”


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