A PARTY-list lawmaker on Thursday urged Gov. Hermogenes Ebdane of Zambales province not to auction off the dredging equipment suspected to be owned by the Chinese government floating near the Cabangan town last July 24.
“The suspected Chinese equipment should be immediately turned over to the national government to serve as possible evidence against the illegal Chinese building of artificial islands inside our territory,” said Rep. Fernando Hicap of Anakpawis party-list, noting that the equipment can be used as evidence against the Chinese government on the West Philippine Sea dispute.
“If the fishermen who discovered the said equipment were asking for compensation, government officials should educate them that that was part of their duty as Filipino citizens and is part of the national effort against violation of our national sovereignty, instead government units should immediately release assistance for the affected fisherfolk population of the sea row. We advise our fellow fishermen not to tamper or cannibalize the floaters because it would serve our struggle against China,” Hicap added.
The militant lawmaker also said that whether there were claimants or not, the provincial government of Zambales should call off its plan to auction off the floaters.
Anakpawis has been demanding the Aquino administration to release assistance for the fisherfolk sector that was affected by the territorial dispute.
According to Pambansang Lakas ng Kilusang Mamalakaya ng Pilipinas (Pamalakaya – Pilipinas), an estimated 12, 000 fisherolks in the provinces of Zambales, Pangasinan and Bataan are affected by the on-going tension in the West Philippine Sea. Also the dispute affects 26 percent of the fishing grounds of the three provinces.
“This is a national struggle, the national government should take responsibility for the impact of the dispute on its constituents and not rely on the capacity of local government units,” Hicap said.