Local fishermen are not experiencing intimidation from Chinese Coast Guard in Bajo de Masinloc or the Scarborough Shoal.
Philstar.com/File photo
BFAR: Pinoy fishermen can now freely fish in Scarborough Shoal
(philstar.com) - May 21, 2016 - 2:30pm

MANILA, Philippines — The Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) on Saturday said that local fisherman can now freely fish in the disputed Scarborough Shoal and are not experiencing harassment from the Chinese Coast Guard.

"Wala po tayong naririnig [na reklamo] ngayon,” said BFAR director Asis Perez in a radio interview with dzBB.

“That can be an indication na wala pong nangyayaring adverse o hindi magandang nangyayari sa mga mangingisda," he added.

Rommel Banlaoi, chairman of the Philippine Institute for Peace, Violence and Terrorism Research, said the development could be the result of their efforts to negotiate with their counterparts in China.

According to him, the government is holding talks with China, asking to allow fishermen to continue fishing while negotiations on the maritime dispute continue.

He also cited China’s move to develop amicable and cooperative relations under the administration of incoming President Rodrigo Duterte.

In January 2014, the Philippines filed an arbitration case against China before the international tribunal in The Hague, Netherlands to invalidate the latter's excessive claims in the South China Sea.

China on repeatedly said that it will not participate in the arbitration case filed by the Philippines, insisting they have indisputable sovereignty over the disputed waters.

The UN tribunal is expected to issue its ruling on Manila's case against Beijing by this month.

Duterte earlier spoke to US President Barack Obama that he is open to holding bilateral talks with China on the West Philippine Sea row. - Kristine Daguno-Bersamina

RELATED: China hoping for 'well-thought policies' from new Philippine presidentChina congratulates Duterte, expects 'friendly dialogue'

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