Hontiveros wants recall of PH diplomats in China after Recto Bank ‘collision’
MANILA, Philippines — President Rodrigo Duterte should order the recall of the country’s ambassador and consuls in China after the reported “collision” between a Chinese fishing vessel and a Filipino fishing boat in Recto Bank (Reed Bank) in the West Philippine Sea, which the Philippine military sees as intentional.
Opposition Sen. Risa Hontiveros raised this argument on Thursday, saying that if the President could order the recall of the country’s envoy and consuls in Canada over a dispute on garbage, he can do the same “to defend and secure the lives of our fisherfolk and the country’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.”
Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana bared Wednesday that a Chinese boat abandoned a Filipino vessel after hitting it on the evening of Sunday, June 9. A Vietnamese fishing vessel in the vicinity rescued the 22 Filipino fishermen while the Philippine Navy assisted in the recovery of the boat and its crew.
“President Duterte’s continued subservience to China can no longer hold the country’s sinking sovereignty afloat, which plunges deeper into a dark, bottomless abyss everyday that he fails to enforce a foreign policy that truly represents our people’s patriotic aspirations and interests,” the Akbayan lawmaker lamented.
Hontiveros said the order to recall the country’s diplomats from China should remain in full effect until the Chinese government has identified and explained the presence of the Chinese vessel that sank the Filipino boat; identified and punish the captain and entire crew of the Chinese vessel; and committed that such incidents would not be repeated.
Sen. Antonio Trillanes IV meanwhile backed the ongoing investigation on the incident and asked Foreign Affairs Sec. Teodoro Locsin to refer the incident to the Maritime Safety Committee of the International Maritime Organization (IMO) since both the Philippines and China are State parties to the IMO.
“This way, a dispassionate, independent and objective investigation would be conducted on the matter and its recommendations would be binding under international law,” Trillanes said. (Editor: Mike U. Frialde)
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