BFAR told to submit proof of cyanide usage in Bajo de Masinloc

By Priam Nepomuceno

February 20, 2024, 10:46 am

<p>NSC Assistant Director General Jonathan Malaya<em> (PNA file photo)</em></p>

NSC Assistant Director General Jonathan Malaya (PNA file photo)

MANILA – The National Task Force for the West Philippine Sea (NTF-WPS) has directed the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) to submit pieces of evidence on claims that Chinese fishermen are using cyanide in the Bajo de Masinloc (Scarborough Shoal).

"The NTF WPS has directed the BFAR to submit all evidence regarding the alleged cyanide poisoning to determine the facts," NSC Assistant Director General Jonathan Malaya said in a message to the Philippine News Agency Tuesday.

He added that this will allow the Philippines to establish the facts regarding the matter.

Once the incident is confirmed, Malaya said they will refer the matter to the Office of the Solicitor General and the Department of Justice "to determine if there’s prima facie evidence of wrongdoing and who’s responsible."

"Our lawyers will take it from there," he added.

Reports said Chinese and Vietnamese fisherfolk are using cyanide to stun fish in the shoal, making them easier to catch.

Earlier, National Security Adviser Eduardo Año said a regular rotational deployment of Philippine Coast Guard and BFAR ships in Bajo de Masinloc will take place starting this month to secure Filipino fisherfolk in the area.

He added that the deployment is in line with President Ferdinand R. Marcos Jr.'s "Bagong Pilipinas" vision of food security which is a pivotal element in national development. (PNA)