The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) has commended a resolution approved by Palawan’s provincial board condemning China’s recent unilateral fishing restriction in the South China Sea (SCS).

“The DFA commends the efforts of the Sangguniang Panlalawigan of Palawan in fighting for the rights of fisherfolk in their affected community through the adoption of Provincial Resolution No. 15968, expressing its strong protest against China’s unilateral declaration and imposition of a fishing ban in the South China Sea and supporting the diplomatic protest filed by the DFA,” it said in a statement Saturday.

“This laudable initiative demonstrates that all branches and levels of government have an important role to play in defending our country’s interests,” it added.

The resolution adopted on June 9, 2021, echoed that the ban, covering areas within the Philippine exclusive economic zone (EEZ), was a “breach” of Article 58 of the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea and the 2016 Arbitral Ruling.

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It stated that China’s extension of the ban beyond its legitimate maritime entitlement was an “act without basis under international law”.
 
Beijing imposed the moratorium from May 1 to Aug. 16, 2021, covering “waters north of 12 degrees north latitude,” which encroaches areas on Philippine territory and EEZ, including the Bajo de Masinloc.

The ban is an annual affair imposed by the Chinese government in the South China Sea since 1999.
China, the Philippines, and several other littoral states have overlapping claims in the South China Sea.

In a 2016 arbitral ruling, the Hague-based Permanent Court of Arbitration ruled that Beijing’s nine-dash line, a demarcation that covers almost 80 percent of the South China Sea, is illegal. (PNA)

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