MANILA — The Philippine Coast Guard detachment in Masinloc is urging local fishermen to avoid fishing in the Panatag Shoal, following China’s aggressive stance.
“We’re asking our fishermen to keep their distance from the shoal. It’s safer for them to stay about [90 km] from it,” said CPO Mino Torres, commander of the Masinloc detachment.
He added that the detachment’s limited resources is hindering them from fully protecting the local fishermen.
“Our authority is restricted. As much as we want to patrol the shoal, we have limited resources and we need to obtain go-signal from our headquarters,” he said in a Philippine Daily Inquirer report.
Aside from warnings coming from the Philippine Coast Guard, officials from the local government are also urging the fishermen to refrain from going to the shoal.
Infanta Mayor Percival Mallare said that he has been making rounds in the area to advise the fishermen not to go to the shoal.
“But they still go there and I cannot be watching and stopping them all day,” Mallare said in the same report for the PDI report.
Masinloc Mayor Desiree Edora also said that they have offered alternative forms of livelihood for the fishermen.
“We’re not neglecting the needs of the fishermen. More than giving them financial assistance, we’re providing them other sources of income, especially those affected by the dispute in the West Philippine Sea,” Edora said in the same PDI report.
“We’re organizing the fishermen, as the DSWD is ready to lend P5,000 to each of them. They can use the money to start small businesses to support their daily needs,” she added.