By: Elena Grace Flores
Jonathan Almandrez recounts the chase they experienced last June 7, 2016 just outside Scarborough Shoal within the disputed Philippine territory by the Chinese Coast Guard — something that can stop any time soon after a U.N. backed tribunal ruling happens.
“I was angry at them to shoo us away when we were clearly inside Philippine territory,” said the 30-year-old companion of Almandrez — who provided mobile phone footage of the incident that lasted two hours, Chinese coast guard patrol boats circled a wooden outrigger carrying 10 Filipino fishermen. He also shouted back to the Chinese Coast Guard; “You go back to China because this is the property of the Philippines,” – but got intimidated when a larger vessel was seen arriving at the scene.
The incident happened 650 km from Hainan island, but falls within the “nine-dash line” specified by international laws. The fishermen are from Infanta, one of the main Scarborough Shoal fishing towns in Luzon whose decendants have been fishing at the shallow but fish-rich waters. Their village also serves as sanctuary for stranded fishermen during typhoons.