Philippines to charge 12 poaching Chinese fishermen

2013-04-10 06:12:33 GMT2013-04-10 14:12:33(Beijing Time)  SINA.com

Philippine President Benigno Aquino III said on Wednesday appropriate charges will be filed against the Chinese fishermen, whose boat ran aground in Tubbataha Reef on Monday night, the PhilStar reported.

"The bottom line is that we have a law, Republic Act 10067, that states everything that needs to be known. If you enter within this zone, there is a presumption that you are poaching. There are appropriate penalties: imprisonment and fine. Our job at the executive departments is to execute the law," Aquino said after the groundbreaking ceremonies of the Capiz Airport development project.

The President, meanwhile, clarified that the government will not ask China take responsibility of the incident.

"I think the law states that those who were caught [poaching] should be held liable. And it's a fishing vessel, so it will be the owners of the fishing vessel amongst others will be charged," he said.

Aquino added that investigations are also ongoing to determine the liabilities of those tasked to secure the reef from intruders.

The Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) said that Chinese fishing vessel, Min Long Yu, with bow no. 63168, ran aground 1.1 nautical miles east of the Tubbataha ranger station at around 11:40 p.m. Monday.

The PCG had said that the Chinese vessel's grounding was far from the site where the US Navy minesweeper USS Guardian got stuck last January 17.

Naval Forces West chief Commander Joseph Rustom Peña said the Chinese fishermen could have been poaching in the area when their boat hit the atoll in the southern portion of the North Islet in Tubbataha.

Protected Areas and Wildlife Bureau (PAWB) Director Mundita Lim said the Chinese fishermen could be charged with illegal harvesting of resources.

“Fishing paraphernalia as well as wildlife such as turtles found on the boat are evidence that can be used against them,” she said.

Meanwhile, PCG spokesperson Lt. Cmdr.Armand Balilo said that the Chinese fishing vessel remained stuck in the reef.

Balilo said that they will drain all the fuel oil from the boat to prevent the possibility of fuel spilling, which may pollute the marine sanctuary.

He said the removal of the fuel from the Chinese vessel will be done before the vessel itself is removed from the reef.

(Agencies)

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Editor: Mei Jingya
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