“I will need to validate that from the Secretary of National Defense,” Presidential spokesperson Salvador Panelo said when asked on March 4 regarding the reported turning away of Filipino fishermen by Chinese boats from sandbar near Pag-asa Island.
When asked if the turning away of Filipino fishermen is correct, Panelo said “certainly it’s not correct.”
He explained that it is not correct “because that is our area. We – from the very start we said that that’s ours and we have been – and our fishermen have been doing that.”
“Our fishermen have been fishing there. So they have – nobody has the right to drive our fishermen away. But we’ll have to validate that, hindi pa natin alam iyon,” he said.
In interview with Inquirer, Kalayaan Mayor Roberto del Mundo said “‘yung mga fishermen natin ‘pagka lumalapit ‘dun sa sandbar 3, ‘yun po talaga ‘yung aming pangisdaan, ‘may lumalapit na agad na mga vessels. Parang bubugawin ka agad para ‘d ka makapasok, para ‘d ka makalapit dun sa sandbar 3.”