By Ernie Reyes
CAVITE — Senator Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan on Thursday maintained that the Ayungin Shoal in the West Philippine Sea (WPS) should be defended as it is vital to the country’s food security.
Pangilinan said he has already filed a resolution in the Senate seeking an investigation into the possible implication of China’s persistent harassment to the livelihood of Filipino fishermen.
“Usapin din ito ng food security dahil yung West Philippine Sea napaka rich source ng isda. In fact yung mga isda malamang na iniimport natin mula sa China ay galling doon,” Pangilinan told reporters at the sidelines of the Lugawan outreach activity in Kawit, Cavite.
On Wednesday, China demanded that the Philippines remove the grounded BRP Sierra Madre from Ayungin Shoal in the West Philippine Sea.
Pangilinan added that protecting the Philippines’ exclusive economic zone (EEZ) will also contribute to battling hunger.
Due to the continuous bullying of China, he said the livelihood of fishermen in Pangasinan and Zambales had been badly affected.
“Napakalaki ng source ng income lalo na sa Zambales at pangasinan ang kinukuha dito sa WPS na dati rati e pag lumuluwas sila P5,000, ngayon wala dahil tinataboy sila,” the veteran legislator said.
In July this year, Pangilinan filed Senate Resolution 777 seeking, among others, the protection of the rights and the livelihood of fisherfolk and ensuring food security.