If the government establishes legal grounds, President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr. will personally charge Chinese fishermen for allegedly using cyanide to harm Bajo de Masinloc or the Scarborough Shoal. (Photo by Malacañang Press Office)

President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. will file charges against Chinese fishermen if the government finds a legal basis for their alleged use of cyanide to damage Bajo de Masinloc or the Scarborough Shoal during the 16th Ani ng Dangal 2024 on Tuesday in Manila.

“If we feel that there is enough ground to do so, we will,” Marcos said.

Reports received by the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) over the weekend confirmed that Chinese fishermen were using cyanide to “intentionally destroy Bajo de Masinloc to prevent Filipino fishing boats from fishing in the area.”

Marcos said that he knew about the alleged cyanide fishing of the Chinese fishermen based on reports from BFAR, but he emphasized that the incident in Bajo de Masinloc is “more alarming” as it has been a prevalent practice in Philippine waters.

“I do know that there have been cases of cyanide fishing before even here in the Philippines, but I think the reason that it has been more alarming is that it has become more prevalent, kaya ‘yun ang inaalala natin,” Marcos said.

As the case develops, the National Task Force for the West Philippine Sea (NTF-WPS) ordered the BFAR to gather pieces of evidence to support their claims on the alleged cyanide fishing by the Chinese fishermen in the Bajo de Masinloc.