PH wants China to sanction ship crew for sinking Filipino fishing boat

Marje Pelayo   •   June 13, 2019   •   2766

Still image of disputed Spratly Islands in the South China Sea taken from US Navy surveillance video May 21, 2015. REUTERS/US Navy

MANILA, Philippines – Defense Chief Delfin Lorenzana has called for a diplomatic action in relation to the sea collision between a Chinese vessel and a Filipino fishing boat (F/B GIMVER 1) that left 22 Filipino fishermen adrift in the middle of the sea.

“We call for the conduct of a formal investigation on the matter and for diplomatic steps be taken to prevent a repeat of this incident,” Lorenzana said Wednesday (June 12).

The incident happened on June 9 when a Chinese vessel hit and sank a Filipino vessel near the Recto Bank, a territory in dispute in the West Philippine Sea.

Lorenzana said the Philippines denounced the actions of the Chinese crew as they immediately left the scene and abandoned the Filipino crewmen instead of helping them.

Reports said the F/B GIMVER 1 was anchored at the time when it was hit by the Chinese fishing vessel.

Lorenzana thanked the crewmen of a Vietnamese fishing vessel near the incident for saving the distressed Filipino crewmen in coordination with the Armed Forces of the Philippines’ Western Command.

The BRP Ramon Alcaraz, which was on routine maritime patrol in the area, was sent to rescue the Filipinos.

“We thank the captain and crew of Vietnamese vessel, for saving the lives of the 22 Filipino crew,” Lorenzana said.

“However, we condemn in the strongest terms the cowardly action of the suspected Chinese fishing vessel and its crew for abandoning the Filipino crew. This is not the expected action from a responsible and friendly people,” he added.

Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo, meanwhile, called the Chinese crewmen’s action as “uncivilised as it is outrageous”.

Panelo said, the Chinese crew should have at least saved the Filipino crewmen even despite the existing territorial dispute between China and the Philippines.

“Regardless of the nature of the collision, whether it was accidental or intentional, common decency and the dictates of humanity require the immediate saving of the crew of the downed Philippine vessel,” he said.

“The safety of the crew of the damaged Filipino vessel should have been the uppermost thought and helping them should have been the natural reaction of the crew of the other vessel,” he added.

Panelo joins Lorenzana in calling for an investigation and sanction against the Chinese crewmen for their actions.

“We call on the appropriate Chinese authorities to probe the collision and impose the proper sanctions to the Chinese crew,” he said.                            

Malacañang assured that concerned agencies are now providing assistance to the Filipino crewmen who were rescued from the incident. (with details from Rosalie Coz)

Pro and anti-Beijing supporters face off at shopping mall

Jeck Deocampo   •   September 13, 2019

Pro-Beijing supporters flooded into a Hong Kong shopping mall waving China flags and singing the Chinese national anthem on Friday (September 13) where they were confronted by with anti-Beijing groups.

The confrontation came hours before a city-wide Mid-Autumn festival celebration where demonstrators are set to carry lanterns and form human chains on the scenic Victoria Peak, an area popular with mainland Chinese tour groups. The human chain is also due to be formed on Lion Rock which separates the New Territories from the Kowloon peninsula.

The anti-China demonstrations started in June in response to a bill that would have allowed people to be sent to mainland China for trial in Communist Party-controlled courts, but have broadened into calls for democracy.

China says Hong Kong is now its internal affair. It denies meddling in Hong Kong and has accused the United States, Britain and others of fomenting the unrest.

Britain says it has a legal responsibility to ensure China abides by its obligations under the Joint Declaration. (REUTERS)

Palace: Duterte will not set aside arbitral ruling on joint oil exploration with China

Aileen Cerrudo   •   September 12, 2019

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte (L) and People’s Republic of China President Xi Jinping (R) pose for posterity prior to the start of the bilateral meeting at the Diaoyutai State Guesthouse in Beijing on August 29, 2019.

The Malacañang insisted that President Rodrigo Duterte will not set aside the West Philippine Sea arbitral ruling for the joint oil exploration with China.

This was after former Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) Secretary Albert Del Rosario slammed the president’s statement.

“[Because the] exclusive economic zone is part of the arbitral ruling which we will ignore to come up with an economic activity,” President Duterte was quoted saying during the oath-taking of the Malacanang Press Corps on September 10.

Vice President Leni Robredo expressed dismay over what she referred to as ‘irresponsible’ statement of the chief executive.

However, the palace said President Duterte is not setting aside the decision of the Hague Arbitral Tribunal, as well as the exclusive economic zone (EEZ) of the country.

According to Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo, the negotiation between the Philippines and China will remain.

“The setting aside doesn’t mean that we will abandon it. what the president means, as we have repeatedly said, and as he has said too, the arbitral ruling is still subject to talks between two countries, negotiation is ongoing peacefully, meanwhile we focus on other concerns may mutually benefit the two countries,” he said.—AAC (with reports from Rosalie Coz)

Tropical depression expected to enter PAR on Thursday

Marje Pelayo   •   September 12, 2019

MANILA, Philippines – The Tropical Depression outside the Philippine area of responsibility (PAR) has slightly intensified, according to the state weather service PAGASA.

As of PAGASA’s 4:00 AM bulletin, the trough of the tropical depression is now affecting Southern Luzon and Visayas.

On Thursday (September 12), cloudy skies with scattered to widespread rainshowers and thunderstorms will be experienced specifically in CALABARZON, Bicol Region, MIMAROPA, Visayas, Zamboanga Peninsula, Aurora, Quirino, Isabela, and Cagayan.

According to the latest data from PAGASA, the center of the tropical depression was observed at 1,495 km East of Visayas with maximum sustained winds of 55 km/h and gustiness of up to 70 km/hour while moving east-northeastward at a speed of 15km/hour.

The weather system is forecast to enter PAR within 48 hrs and will be named “Marilyn”.

This weather disturbance is less likely to make landfall in the country.

Meanwhile, partly cloudy to cloudy skies with isolated rainshowers will prevail over Metro Manila and the rest of the country due to localized thunderstorms.

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