Filipino fishermen still facing challenges in Scarborough Shoal

enablePagination: false
maxItemsPerPage: 10
maxPaginationLinks: 10

(File photo)

Scarborough Shoal (CNN Philippines) — Despite China relaxing its restrictions on fishing in the Scarborough Shoal, Filipino fishermen are still facing challenges on their journey to the disputed area.

On Saturday, the fifth day of CNN Philippines in the disputed waters, Chinese presence in the area still prevents Filipino fishermen from fishing at the mouth of the shoal.

Aside from Chinese presence, the sea is proving to be a challenge. There are days when the tide is too low for boats to enter. There are also times when the catch is scarce because the current is too strong.

On Friday night, the winds were blowing too strong, drifting our boat into the rocky part of the shoal. We ran aground a reef and our boat's propeller was damaged.

Ship captain, Budog Lebios, and his crew had to remove the 10 kilo propeller and hammer the bent parts. They had put it back on and our boat is now running again.

The nine fishermen aboard the boat haven't stopped working from sun up to sun down since our team arrived, as they want to take advantage of the freedom to fish in Scarborough Shoal.

The Philippine Coast Guard has made an aerial surveillance here yesterday and according to Colonel Armand Balilo there are 13 large Filipino fishing boats in the area.

Six Chinese Coast Guard vessels are also present in and around the shoal.

Recently, Filipino fishing boats have been allowed access to Scarborough Shoal with Chinese vessels not harassing Filipino fishermen.

In July, a landmark international tribunal ruled against China's claims in the South China Sea.