Emergency Hotlines: LANDLINE (+63) 2 911 – 8688

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

by Marje Pelayo   |   Posted on Thursday, June 13th, 2019

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)

Tags: , , , , ,

Duterte to Recto 22: ‘I’m sorry, but that’s how it is’

by Aileen Cerrudo   |   Posted on Tuesday, June 25th, 2019

Courtesy : Presidential Photo

President Rodrigo Duterte apologized to the Recto 22 after he reiterated that the abandonment of the 22 fishermen was just a “maritime incident”.

During the premiere of the movie “Kontradiksyon,” Duterte told reporters that the incident did not result in any confrontation.

“Well, I’m sorry, but that’s how it is,” he said. “They know that that area is claimed by both. For China, it happened within their jurisdiction. For us [it happened] within our jurisdiction. We have two conflicting claims of ownership.”

READ: Filipino boat captain laments Duterte’s remark on West PH Sea allision incident

The Filipino boat captain previously expressed disappointment over Duterte’s remarks when he said the allision was only a “maritime incident”.

A Filipino vessel was allegedly hit by a Chinese vessel on June 9. The Filipino fishermen were abandoned at sea and were saved by Vietnamese fishermen after a few hours.

Duterte clarified that he is not belittling the situation. However, he said that it would not justify sending military troops to the area.

“It’s a maritime incident. ‘Little’ in the sense that it did not result in any confrontation. This not to belittle anything. There was damage but luckily nobody died,” he said. “That is not a reason to go to any military exercise there. If you do that, that’s war.”—AAC


Tags: , , , , ,

Duterte ‘disappointed’ over delay in crafting of COC – Palace

by Marje Pelayo   |   Posted on Monday, June 24th, 2019

President Rodrigo Roa Duterte joins other leaders from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) member states during the 34th ASEAN Summit plenary session at The Athenee Hotel in Bangkok, Thailand on June 22, 2019. Courtesy : PCOO

MANILA, Philippines — Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo on Sunday (June 23) expressed President Rodrigo Duterte’s ‘concern and disappointment’ over delays in the crafting of the much-awaited Code of Conduct (COC) in the South China Sea.

“The Chief Executive explained that the longer the delay for an early conclusion of the COC, the higher the probability of maritime incidents happening and the greater the chance for miscalculations that may spiral out of control,” he said in a statement while emphasizing that the President is “not beholden to or afraid of any foreign country”.

President Duterte raised the issue during the leaders’ meeting at the 34th Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Summit held in Bangkok, Thailand.

The establishment of a COC is seen to tone down and prevent the tensions in the disputed areas in the South China Sea.

The Philippines currently serves as country coordinator of the ASEAN-China dialogue partnership which started from 2018 to 2021.

The partnership includes negotiations for the COC over the disputed territories.

“As country coordinator for ASEAN-China Dialogue Relations, together with fellow ASEAN member-states, the Philippines will continue to push for the full and effective implementation of the 2002 Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea,” Panelo said.

The Palace official said the Chief Executive urged the regional bloc “to remain united and steadfast in protecting time-honored principles of international law.”

“Today’s gathering has established the guiding philosophy of the President: Respect for the rule of law, and recognition of the sovereign equality of all nations as well,” Panelo noted.

The Presidential Spokesperson stressed that President Duterte is “confident in articulating in clear and unequivocal terms the position of the Philippines as regards its interests before the global stage.” – with details from Rosalie Coz

Tags: , , , ,

Robredo meets with 22 fishermen in Recto Bank incident

by Robie de Guzman   |   Posted on Friday, June 21st, 2019

Courtesy : OVP

Vice President Leni Robredo on Friday conducted a closed-door meeting with the Filipino crew of the boat which was hit and sank by a Chinese vessel near Recto Bank (also called Reed Bank) in the West Philippine Sea last June 9.

Robredo arrived at the San Jose town in Occidental Mindoro around 10 a.m. to speak with the 22 crewmembers of F/B Gem-Ver 1 who were left floating at sea after the ramming incident but were later rescued by Vietnamese fishermen.

The meeting was held at the residence of one of the fishermen and owner of the boat.

The Vice President’s visit comes after boat captain Junel Insigne retracted his previous statement that the Chinese boat intentionally hit their boat. He changed tune after a closed-door meeting with Agriculture Secretary Manny Piñol on Wednesday.

Some Makabayan congressmen alleged that the boat captain was intimidated and pressured to change his statement, which Piñol denied.

READ: Makabayan bloc believes boat captain was pressured to change statements

The Agriculture chief said he only based on the account of the boat’s cook, Richard Blaza, who was allegedly the only one awake when the incident occurred.

Robredo earlier said she wants the Chinese crew to face charges for hitting and abandoning the Filipino fishers at sea.

The United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea requires member-states to mandate ships flying their flag to rescue persons distressed at sea. Beijing and Manila are signatories of the said policy.

A diplomatic protest has already been filed by the Department of Foreign Affairs over the incident.

Investigations are also underway on the boat ramming incident. (with details from Sherwin Culubong)

Tags: