Plans now ongoing to ensure safety of PHL fishermen venturing in Scarborough Shoal

MANILA — Department of National Defense (DND) Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said the government is now planning courses of actions to ensure the safety of Filipino fishermen planning to venture off Scarborough Shoal which lies 125 nautical miles off Masinloc town, Zambales.

This is should Chinese Coast Guard continues to harass and prevent Filipino fishermen from entering the rich fishing ground.

“Let us see what happens in the next couple of days. If they continue to deny entry (to Filipino fishermen), then maybe the government will come up with some actions or solutions to allow these fishermen to go there unimpeded by the Chinese Coast Guard,” he said.

The DND chief said the Philippines has many options but declined to discuss these as it merely “telegraph what we are doing to the other side.”

“But we are going to wait for some decisions from higher-ups on what we will be doing, President Duterte will have to consult other agencies before coming up with ‘concrete actions,’ he added.

China gained control of Scarborough Shoal after a tense stand-off with Philippine Navy units in 2012.

Its maritime law enforcement units have been consistently driving away Filipino fishermen spotted in the area. Priam Nepomuceno/PNA/