Sea collision in Recto Bank may mar PH-China relations
Marje Pelayo • June 13, 2019 • 2958
MANILA, Philippines – President Rodrigo Duterte was “outraged” by the incident in Recto Bank on June 9, according to Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo, when a Chinese vessel hit and sank a Filipino fishing boat and just abandoned 22 Filipino fishermen in the middle of the sea.
Panelo in a statement said that such action by Chinese crew members is not what humanity dictates, calling it “uncivilized” and “outrageous”.
Panelo said the incident may lead to a diplomatic rift between the Philippines and China if the Chinese government will not act on sanctioning the offending crewmen.
“Ano’ng (what) step? We will cut our diplomatic relations,” Panelo warned.
“Iyan ang unang ginagawa pag may aggressive acts. First may diplomatic protests ka. Kung di ka kuntento sa paliwanag nila at nakita nating sinadya, ibang usapan na iyon. Our responses will always be calibrated depende sa degree. But definitely, we will not allow ourselves to be assaulted, to be bullied,” he explained.
(That’s the first thing we do with aggressive acts. First, you file a diplomatic protest. If you’re not contented with their explanation and if the act is intentional, that’s a different thing. Our responses will always be calibrated depending on degree. But definitely, we will not allow ourselves to be assaulted, to be bullied.)
Panelo insists that China must act on the matter by investigating and bringing to justice all of its nationals involved in the incident.
“We call the Chinese government to probe the incident and to impose punitive actions against those at fault,” he stressed.
President Duterte in April emphasized that he may allow Chinese vessel near Philippine territory in the West Philippine Sea but he will not let it pass if their stay is already causing harm to the Filipinos in the area.
“Kapag iyan ang ginalaw ninyo, ibang istorya na iyan. Sabihan ko na ‘yang mga sundalo ko, ‘prepare for suicide missions,’” President Duterte said on April 4, 2019.
(If you hurt [my people] that’s a different story. I will tell my soldiers to prepare for suicide missions.)- with reports from Rosalie Coz
The owner of the Chinese vessel, through a Chinese ‘Association’, has apologized for the Recto Bank incident last June 9.
In a memorandum posted by the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) on Twitter, the Chinese ‘Association’ where the shipowner is a member, sends their sympathies to the Filipino fishermen for the collision between the Chinese and Philippine fishing boats.
The name of the said association was not disclosed by the DFA.
The association also came up with the accident investigation report. They reiterated that the said collision was “an unintentional mistake”. However, they still believe that the Chinese vessel should still take the major responsibility for the “accident”.
“Our association will urge the shipowner of the fishing boat involved to actively coordinate with the Philippine side to expedite the latter’s claim for compensation according to the procedures for insurance claim,” the memorandum states.
On June 9, 22 Filipino fishermen were abandoned after a Chinese vessel “accidentally” rammed their fishing boat in Recto Bank.—AAC
Supreme Court Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio is unaffected by President Rodrigo Duterte’s remark calling him “stupid” for his stance on the issue of allowing Chinese fishermen in Philippine waters.
On Wednesday, Duterte called out Carpio after the latter said it would be unconstitutional to allow Chinese fishermen to exhaust the country’s resources.
“Napaka-istupido mo. That is why hanggang diyan ka lang talaga,” Duterte said.
Caprio meanwhile, said the president’s remarks is “not worth a comment”.—AAC
President Rodrigo Duterte is in favor of having a third party that will investigate the Recto Bank incident.
Duterte confirmed that he has received the initial report of the Philippine Coast Guard and Maritime Industry Authority about the incident. However, there is still no official report from the government.
He also added that it is important to have a third party in the investigation to remove doubts on the findings of the two involved countries.
“Well, if it’s going to be a Marine Board of Inquiry, whatever satisfies the requirement of fair play and due process — due process that everybody should be heard [while] fair play is that, there’s no one that is under suspicion of siding with the other,” he said.
However, the chief executive cannot assure if China will agree to a third party investigation.—AAC (with reports from Rosalie Coz)
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