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Senators on West PH Sea collision: ‘A huge insult’ to Filipinos

by Aileen Cerrudo   |   Posted on Thursday, June 13th, 2019

Several senators have condemned the reported collision of a Chinese vessel and a Filipino vessel on Sunday (June 9), deeming it ‘a huge insult’ to Filipinos.

Sen. Joel Villanueva called the actions of the Chinese crew as irresponsible after they left the 22 Filipino crewmen in the West Philippine Sea.

“We strongly condemn the irresponsible actions of the Chinese vessel’s crew. Saving the lives of fellow seafarers should be top priority regardless of nationality or flag. The incident shows the need for greater accountability and enforcement of international laws in the West Philippine Sea,” he said in his statement.

READ: Locsin files diplomatic protest vs China after West PH Sea collision

Senators Franklin Drilon shares the same sentiment with Senator Panfilo Lacson. They are both questioning the friendly relationship between China and the Philippines.

Senator Lacson calls for a talk between the country’s leaders.

“This incident calls for a leader-to-leader talk. As I said, nothing short of serious punitive action by the Chinese government against those responsible can convince us of a real friendly relationship between our peoples,” he said.

According to Director, Institute for Maritime Affairs & Law of the Sea- University of the Philippines Prof. Jay Batongbacal this is not the first time a Chinese vessel hit another country’s fishing vessel.

“Marami itong beses na nangyari sa Vietnam binabangga ng mga Chinese vessel iyong mga Vietnamese fishing vessel, (It had occurred numerous times in Vietnam where a Chinese vessel hit a Vietnamese fishing vessel)” he said.

Batongbacal also seeks accountability for what happened. He said that the Filipino crewmen should be given compensation.

“Kung hindi tayo aalma, kung palalampasin natin ito baka ang susunod na diyan lahat ng ating mga mangingisda diyan sa West Philippine sea ay gaganyanin din, babanggain, iha-harass hanggang sa umalis na tayo sa West Philippine Sea, (If we will not protest, they might also target other fishermen in the West Philippine Sea. They might harass us until we leave the West Philippine Sea)” Batongbacal added.(with reports from Nel Maribojoc)

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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


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China to use Recto Bank incident to check Phl reaction when similar incident happens in WPS

by Maris Federez   |   Posted on Wednesday, June 19th, 2019

A lawmaker believes that what happened in Recto Bank (or Reed Bank) is connected with the territorial disputes in the West Philippine Sea (or South China Sea).

Senator Panfilo Lacson said he received information that the incident is China’s means to check on how the Philippines will react.

“Not from a local source na hindi ko tinanong kung ano ang basis. Ang sinasabi doon is it was a test of how far back we can go. Kasi kung alam nilang urong tayo ng urong, sulong sila ng sulong,” Lacson added.

Lacson said the report he received showed that a Chinese Militia vessel rammed the Filipino fishing boat.

China had claimed almost the entire South China Sea based on the Nine-Dash Line Theory it adopted.

It also showed interest on Recto or Reed Bank as the area is rich in oil and gas deposits.

The senator said the country can always use the Mutual Defense Treaty it has with the United States to prevent China’s bullying at the West Philippine Sea.

Lacson said this is a means to maintain balance of power.

“I’m not saying we implement it. Pero hihintayin pa ba nating magkaroon ng armed attack? Lalong escalation yun. Mas maganda na ginamit natin yung treaty to act proactively,” he reiterates.

Lacson also called out Presidential Spokesperson Salvador Panelo for his seeming partiality with China and for not taking sides with the Filipino fishermen whose lives were thrown in danger.

To which, Panelo was quick to respond, pointing out that what the senator was saying was far from the truth.

He also stressed that President Duterte is not taking China’s side.

“The President is a thinking, cautious and responsible President. Not an irresponsible and reckless President that others would (label) him to be,“ Panelo said.

He added, “I’m echoing the line of the President when he says let us wait for the final findings of facts of the investigation being conducted by both countries.” (with reports from Nel Maribojoc) /mbmf

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SC postpones debate on writ of kalikasan for areas in West Philippine Sea

by Marje Pelayo   |   Posted on Tuesday, June 18th, 2019

An aerial view shows the Pagasa (Hope) Island, part of the disputed Spratly group of islands, in the South China Sea located off the coast of western Philippines July 20, 2011. REUTERS/ROLEX DELA PENA/POOL

MANILA, Philippines — The Supreme Court on Tuesday (June 18) postponed its debates on a plea for writ of kalikasan for areas in West Philippine Sea.

The SC moved the oral arguments to July 2 instead of June 25.

The petition, filed by Palawan fisherfolk and the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP), seeks to compel the government to impose measures to protect parts of the West Philippine Sea where Chinese fishermen harvest and damage marine resources.

The SC already issued writ of kalikasan to protect Philippine territories such as Panatag Shoal, Ayungin Shoal and Mischief Reef.

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