An official from the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) on Wednesday called on politicians not to exploit sensitive national issues in their election movements.
This came after the release of campaign video of senatorial bet Neri Colmenares who allegedly discussed the harassments being faced by Filipino fishermen in the Scarborough Shoal
In a statement, AFP-Northern Luzon Command (Nolcom) commander Lt. Gen. Emmanuel Salamat clarified that there are no confirmed reports of harassment done by Chinese personnel to the local fisherfolks in the area.
“We have coordinated with the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources and initially, there were no reports of Filipino Fishermen being subjected to the said attack of Chinese water cannons, and so far, there were no sightings of dredging ships in the waters of Bajo De Masinloc or in the West Philippine Sea,” Nolcom chief said.
Salamat is alarmed that the use of “unvalidated reports” may lead to public fear, likewise, affect the credibility of the state in protecting its territories.
“Such action could cause undue alarm to the public and may affect our credibility as a nation once proven false â€”which are unnecessary,” he added.
Despite of this, the Nolcom commander assured the public that they will remain committed in protecting the people and sovereign territories of the state.
A ruling from the United Nations Arbitral Tribunal in 2016 declared Scarborough Shoal as a part of the 200-nautical-mile Exclusive Economic Zone of the Philippines.