Carpio: PH must demand compensation from China after West PH Sea collision
MANILA, Philippines–The country must take a strong stand against China’s aggressive act by demanding compensation and punishment for the captain and crew of the vessel that rammed the Filipino fishing vessel, F/B Gemvir 1, Supreme Court Senior Associate Justice Antonio Carpio said in a statement issued late Friday.
Last June 9, the captain and crew of the sinking F/B Gemvir 1 were abandoned at sea following the alleged collision with the Chinese vessel. The crew of the Filipino fishing boat was later rescued by a Vietnamese vessel.
The Philippine government had been careful in saying that it was possible that a non-Chinese vessel could have rammed the Filipino fishing boat. However Junel Insigne, captain of F/B Gemvir 1 categorically stated that it was a Chinese vessel that rammed them.
“We saw the vessel that rammed our boat. We are sure they were Chinese. After they hit us, they even went back, turned their lights on us, to make sure that our boat was submerged before they left,” the captain said.
READ: Captain of sunken PH boat: ‘The Chinese did it’
According to Carpio, Chinese maritime militias are trained, equipped and organized by the People’s Liberation Army (PLA). Aside from being fully equipped, China’s maritime militia vessels have reinforced steel hulls purposely for ramming fishing vessels of other coastal states.
“No other coastal state has fishing vessels purposely designed for ramming other fishing vessels,” Carpio said adding that Chinese maritime militas have been ramming Vietnamese vessels for several years.
Carpio has been championing the country’s resolve to take sole control of the West Philippine Sea. The magistrate played a great part in the country’s victory in the arbitral tribunal that invalidated China’s massive claim in the South China Sea.
The landmark decision of the international court rejected China’s argument that it had sovereign and historic rights over the disputed sea region located within the so-called nine-dashed line.
He said what China did was a clear violation of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).
Previously, Chinese maritime milita vessels only loiter in the territorial sea of Pagasa Island and other Philippine-occupied geologic features in the Spratlys, intimidating local fisherfolks.
“The ramming of F/B Gemvir 1 is a quantum escalation of China’s aggressive acts against the Philippines in the West Philippine Sea. This may signal the start of a new “gray zone” offensive by China to drive away Filipino fishing vessels in the West Philippine Sea, in the same way that China is driving away Vietnamese fishing vessels in the Paracels,” Carpio said.
“The Filipino people must take a strong stand against this latest aggressive act of China. The Filipino people must demand from China compensation for the owner of F/B Gemvir 1, and punishment for the captain and crew of the Chinese vessel that rammed in hit-and-run fashion F/B Gemvir 1,” he added.
The senior magistrate said “the Filipino people must send a strong signal to China that any new “grey zone” offensive of ramming Filipino fishing vessels in the West Philippine Sea will mean a break of diplomatic ties with China.” (Editor: Mike U. Frialde)
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