PH, China fishing deal needs Congress approval: Gordon

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jul 17 2019 03:36 PM

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Senator Richard Gordon on Wednesday said President Rodrigo Duterte's verbal agreement with Chinese president Xi Jingping on fishing in disputed waters still needs the approval of Congress.

"This is in the Constitution. This is in the law of the sea in UNCLOS. If we don't have the capacity to fish and there's a lot of fish, ok that still has to go to Congress," Gordon said on ANC's Headstart on Wednesday.

Gordon explained that Congress has overarching inspection powers. "We have the right to oversee what's happening in the presidency," he said.

Duterte last month revealed that he had a 2016 verbal agreement with Xi that allows Beijing to fish in Manila’s exclusive economic zone.

"Ilang barko ba yang pinayagan n'yo? Ilang ang catch? May magme-measure ba? Can we fish sa sinasabi nilang kanilang bayan? Hindi nga tayo makapag-establish sa Panatag nagpapaalam pa tayo," he said.

He said no country would allow another country to fish in its EEZ.

China claims nearly all of the South China Sea and has refused to recognize a United Nations backed-arbitral ruling that invalidated its sweeping claims.

On June 9, a Chinese vessel hit and sank a Filipino fishing boat near the Recto (Reed) Bank in the West Philippine Sea. Filipino fishermen were abandoned at sea and later rescued by a Vietnamese vessel.

"You have to say no to a bully. You have to stand up to a bully but also stand up to a bully and keep your powder dry because you don't go to a gunfight with a knife," he said.