Chinese Coast Guardsmen have been taking the catch of Filipinos fishing in the waters of Scarborough Shoal (Bajo de Masinloc), according to GMA News' Jun Veneracion in his report for Thursday's 24 Oras.
Cameras stowed on one of the fishing boats filmed the Chinese asking for fish and then sailing away when fishermen explained they have not caught any.
The fishermen told GMA News that the Chinese Coast Guard had made a habit of taking their catch. At times, Ernie Egana said, they had no choice but to let them pick out the best ones.
Video taken last May 20 showed two men boarding their boat with a basket and opening the latch where the fish was stored. "Wala silang paalam. Halungkatin nila 'yun, basta maghalungkat sila, sir. Kukunin nila 'yung gusto nila. Ilagay nila sa plastic, magaganda pa ang kunin nila," Egana said.
The Scarborough Shoal is a traditional fishing ground within the 200-nautical-mile Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) of the Philippines.
Philippine maritime law expert Jay Batongbacal said that the Chinese Coast Guard's actions shows the extent of the superpower's control over the territory.
"Eh kung ikaw lagi kang ini-inspect, at maaari nga pag nakita nilang meron kang maling ginawa ay maari ka nilang gawan ng sanction. Obviously, that is control. Lagi silang nando'n. Walang panahon na darating ka do'n na wala sila. That is occupation," he said.
Presidential spokesperson Harry Roque said that the matter will be taken up with the Chinese government.
"Madali po 'yan. Irereklamo natin 'yan sa bansang Tsina dahil sa pagkakaintinti po natin, tayo'y magkaibigan na. Dapat hinahayaang maghanapbuhay ang ating mga mangigngida doon," he said. — Margaret Claire Layug/BM, GMA News