Malacanang invites Filipinos to watch documentary regarding West Philippine Sea

By on June 14, 2015

Screenshot from documentary “Kalayaan: Karapatan sa Karagatan”

MANILA — Malacanang on Sunday invites Filipinos to watch and disseminate the documentary regarding the maritime dispute in the West Philippine and its impact to small fishermen and the maritime ecology.

Malugod naming inaanyayahan ang lahat na panoorin at i-share ang video na pinamagatang “Kalayaan: Karapatan sa Karagatan” upang lubos na maunawaan ang usapin hinggil sa West Philippine Sea. Maaaring matunghayan ito sa Facebook page ni Pangulong Aquino,” said Presidential Communications Operations Office (PCOO) Secretary Herminio Coloma, Jr., in an interview with dzRB Radyo ng Bayan.

The 21-minute long documentary hosted by Lourd de Vera, features an aerial tour of the Bajo de Mansinloc (Panatag Shoal), as well as testimonies of local fishermen who were harassed by the Chinese Coast Guards, and interviews with maritime experts.

In the documentary, Atty. Henry Bensurto, Jr., Philippine Consul General in San Francisco, USA and the Head of the Legal Team on West Philippine Sea Issues of the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), who explained the history of the maritime dispute which first was only between Vietnam and China and how it reached the Philippines’ exclusive economic zone.

He noted that in the 1990’s China began building structures in the Mischief Reef which is 124 nautical miles from Palawan and about 800 nautical miles from the Chinese island of Hainan.

Bensurto also said that the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Seas (UNCLOS) must be observed. This law said a country has special rights regarding the exploration and use of marine resources including energy production from water and wind, which stretches from the baseline out to 200 nautical miles from its coast.

While Undersecretary Asis Perez, the National Director of the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources, said China’s reclamation activities has destroyed the aquatic life, much of which are classified as endangered species.

This is the first of a three-part documentary regarding the disputed maritime territory, which was released last Friday (June 12) coinciding with the celebration of the 117th Anniversary of the Proclamation of Philippine Independence.

The first episode will continue to be aired on PTV-4 every 5:30 p.m. from June 15 to 19, with a replay every 10:30 p.m. While the second and third episode will be aired in late June and early July, respectively.

The documentary was made possible by the coordination of the Department of Foreign Affairs and PCOO.