THERE is notable progress in the fishing talks between the Philippines and China because of continued discussion between the two countries, President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. said on Tuesday.
President Marcos made the remarks in an interview with reporters after attending the 125th founding anniversary of the Department of Agriculture (DA) in Quezon City when asked for an update on the fishing talks with China.
“Iyong latest na report ay sinundan na lang. Hindi na kagaya ng dati na talagang hinaharang. So there’s a little progress there,” Marcos said on the recent reports of Filipino fishermen being blocked by Chinese vessels off Pag-asa Island.
According to the President, the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) has projected increased fish catch because Filipino fishermen are allowed to fish in the area as a result of the discussions.
“That is because we are continuing to talk to the Chinese government, to President Xi in every way para nga ang inuna ko talaga noong kami’y nagkita ay sinabi ko unahin na lang natin ‘yung fisheries,” he said.
During their talks, the territorial dispute issue in the West Philippine Sea was not tackled as both sides could not immediately make a decision. Instead the fishery issue was made the top agenda.
The talks also resulted in better coordination particularly on the imposition of fishing ban, which now allows the Philippines side to plan beforehand and provide livelihood to affected fishermen.
“So that slowly, slowly… Alam mo na, these things do not come very quickly. Slowly, slowly… But we are slowly making progress because the key to that was really the improved communication between the Philippine government and the Chinese government,” he added.
Marcos said that during his state visit to China last January, he and Chinese President Xi Jinping agreed to find a compromise and work on measures that could benefit the Filipino fishermen. P