Drilon asks: ‘What do you call a friend who abandons a friend in times of need?’
MANILA, Philippines — “What do you call a friend who abandons a friend in times of need?”
This was the question posed by Senate Minority Leader Franklin Drilon on Thursday following the incident in the West Philippine Sea where a Chinese vessel abandoned a sinking Philippine vessel after hitting it.
“This incident demands strong and immediate action. We cannot let this incident pass. No self-respecting nation will allow that,” Drilon said in a statement, as he also called on the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) to immediately file a diplomatic protest against China.
In a tweet Thursday, Foreign Affairs Sec. Teodoro Locsin said he has “fired off” a diplomatic protest against China on Wednesday.
Under Article 98 of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), every state is required to render assistance to any person in distress or in danger of being lost at sea, according to Drilon.
The former justice secretary said the Philippine government and the Filipino people “should call out China for not honoring its obligations to rescue any person in distress at sea or in danger of being lost at sea” especially since both countries are signatories to the treaty.
Article 98 (1) of UNCLOS states that: “Every State shall require the master of a ship flying its flag, in so far as he can do so without serious danger to the ship, the crew or the passengers: (a) to render assistance to any person found at sea in danger of being lost; (b) to proceed with all possible speed to the rescue of persons in distress, if informed of their need of assistance, in so far as such action may reasonably be expected of him; (c) after a collision, to render assistance to the other ship, its crew and its passengers and, where possible, to inform the other ship of the name of his own ship, its port of registry and the nearest port at which it will call.”
Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana bared Wednesday that a Chinese boat abandoned an anchored Filipino vessel after hitting it on the evening of Sunday, June 9 in Recto Bank (Reed Bank) in the West Philippine Sea. A Vietnamese fishing vessel in the vicinity rescued the 22 Filipino fishermen aboard while the Philippine Navy assisted the recovery of the boat and its crew.
“We condemn in the strongest terms the cowardly action of the Chinese fishing vessel and its crew for abandoning the Filipino crew. This is not the expected action from a responsible and friendly people,” Lorenzana said in a statement.
Acting Western Command spokesperson Lt. Col. Stephen Penetrante said the incident appeared to be “intentional.” (Editor: Mike U. Frialde)
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