NAAWAN, Misamis Oriental (MindaNews / 29 September) – The Chinese were petrified when their bullying backfired. They could do nothing but helplessly watch from a distance, when the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) dismantled, without fear and trepidation, the floating marker installed by their maritime militia.
The marker was apparently intended to delineate their territorial water, which at the same time served as a barrier to stop Filipino fishing boats from entering Bajo de Masinloc (Scarborough or Panatag Shoal), the Filipino’s traditional fishing ground since time immemorial.
The shoal of controversy is 230 km from the shores of Zambales and is definitely located within the Philippines’ 200-nautical mile (370 km) exclusive economic zone (EEZ). Whereas, Panatag Shoal is 874 km from Hainan, the nearest island of China to it, obviously outside its own EEZ but within, of course, its newly upgraded 10-dash-line territory.
Aside from depriving Filipino fishers of their livelihood activities, the floating barrier was a hazard to navigation. Thus, the PCG dutifully removed it for good, while encouraging their fishing compatriots to carry on with their activities in the shoal under their watchful eyes.
This time around, it is the Chinese protesting, saying the PCG’s provocative act is rising the tension in the disputed area.
They, finally, had a taste of their own medicine.
(MindaViews is the opinion section of MindaNews. William R. Adan, Ph.D., is retired professor and former chancellor of Mindanao State University at Naawan, Misamis Oriental, Philippines.)