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Locsin fires off diplomatic protest after ‘collision’ of Chinese, PH vessels

/ 12:19 PM June 13, 2019

MANILA, Philippines — Foreign Affairs Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. has “fired off” a diplomatic protest following a reported “collision” of a Chinese vessel and a Filipino fishing boat.

“Thanks, meanwhile I fired off a diplomatic protest yesterday,” Locsin said over Twitter on Thursday.

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He was responding to a statement from outgoing Senator Antonio Trillanes IV, who recommended that the incident be referred to the Maritime Safety Committee of the International Maritime Organization (IMO) to which the Philippines and China are both state parties to.

“The Maritime Safety Committee of the IMO is it; but, Sonny, that I will proceed on the merits of the case and what it calls for while the matter is studied by the IMO. Even our ally failed us in Scarborough, remember?,” Locsin further said.

The country’s top diplomat previously said that a report from the National Task Force for the West Philippine Sea would be needed to determine whether or not the incident would necessitate the filing of a diplomatic protest.

“I repeat to those tweeting me updates. Thank you but again, let us wait for the West PH Task Force to give the sort of facts on the basis of which I fire off diplomatic protests,” Locsin said over Twitter Wednesday night.

READ: Locsin needs more data on collision of Chinese, Filipino boats

In a statement, Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana strongly condemned what he described as a “cowardly action” of the Chinese fishing vessel and its crew after it abandoned the 22 Filipino crewmen following the incident.

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READ: China fishing vessel sinks Filipino boat after ‘collision’ in West Philippine Sea

“This is not the expected action from a responsible and friendly people,” Lorenzana added.

The defense chief said the Filipino fishing boat was anchored at Recto Bank (Reed Bank) in the West Philippine Sea when it was hit by the Chinese fishing vessel Sunday night, June 9.

Instead of helping the crew member of the Filipino boat after it sank, Lorenzana said the Chinese fishing vessel sailed away.

“Fortunately, a Vietnamese fishing vessel was in the vicinity, rescued all 22 fishermen, and brought them to safety,” he noted.

In an earlier tweet, Locsin said that it was “contemptible” and “condemnable” to abandon the Filipino crew members.

READ: Locsin: ‘Contemptible’ to abandon crew of sunken Filipino boat

“What is contemptible and condemnable is the abandonment of the crew to the elements,” he said over Twitter.

‘Hit-and-run’

Acting Western Command spokesperson Lt. Col. Stephen Penetrante said that the reported “collision” appeared to be “intentional.”

“Kung titingnan ninyo po sa incident report, may intentionality eh, kasi hindi tumigil [ang vessel],” Penetrante told reporters on Wednesday.

READ: Military: Chinese vessel’s sinking of Filipino boat in Recto Bank maybe ‘intentional’

He also likened the incident to a “hit and run” and said it was “far from accidental,” citing accounts of the fishermen.

“It’s far from accidental kasi kung accidental po ito, the SOP should be, they should stop ‘di po ba? And then they should rescue these fishermen natin ano po. E nung tinamaan nila ‘yung FB Gemvir 1 ay ano po sila dire-diretso sila. Hindi nila tinigilan, hindi sila tumigil,“ he said.

Several lawmakers condemned the reported “collision” and called for a diplomatic action on the matter. (Editor: Julie Espinosa)

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