Be more transparent in West PH Sea dealings, gov’t urged
A lawmaker urged the Philippine government on Tuesday to be more transparent in its dealings with China and come up with a clear communication strategy in the West Philippine Sea following the deaths of two Vietnamese fishermen.
“Right now wala po tayong naririnig sa administration regarding the West Philippine Sea unless na merong incidents na lumalabas in public,” said Magdalo Party-list Rep. Gary Alejano in a press briefing.
(Right now we do not hear anything from the administration regarding the West Philippine Sea unless incidents are reported in public.)
Alejano said that the recent incident highlighted the danger and tension in the area “amid territorial disputes and competition over resources.”
“Incidents such as this happen precisely because there is no clear direction in handling situations surrounding the West Philippine Sea issue,” Alejano said, adding that it is imperative for the government to assure the public that it pursues the country’s national interest.
“The West Philippine Sea is a long-term issue which requires a comprehensive and sustainable strategy,” he added.
The lawmaker said such strategy would provide policies and guide actions of all stakeholders in the disputed waters, especially the Filipino fishermen.
According to the Department of Foreign Affairs, a Philippine Navy ship encountered six Vietnamese fishing boats within the Philippines’ 370-km exclusive economic zone in the West Philippine Sea. The Navy ship then gave chase when the fishing boats tried to escape, and fired “warning shots” when one of the boats rammed the Philippine vessel.
When the Navy personnel boarded the fishing vessel, they found dead Vietnamese fishermen and five others who surrendered and were taken into custody.
The Department of National Defense had said it would cooperate in the probe into the incident. /idl
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