Filipino-Chinese business org offers to rehab PH boat involved in ‘collision’
MANILA, Philippines — The Federation of Filipino Chinese Chambers of Commerce and Industry Inc., (FFCCCII) on Sunday said they will extend an offer to rehabilitate the damaged Filipino vessel involved in the reported ‘hit-and-run’ incident with a Chinese vessel in the West Philippine Sea.
FFCCCII President Dr. Henry Lim Bon Liong made the announcement after receiving a call from Philippine Ambassador to China Jose Santiago Sta. Romana asking him if the federation could help the affected fishermen.
“The Filipino Chinese Chambers of Commerce and Industry Inc., (FFCCCII) as a business and civic organization appeals for sobriety from all sectors of our Philippine society, and the FFCCCII wishes to offer our sincere assistance and support to our fellow countrymen the 22 fishermen in the immediate rehabilitation of their damaged fishing boat, so that they can resume their livelihood,” Lim said at the Pandesal Forum in Quezon City.
“We hope that this civic and humanitarian gesture by the FFCCCII can help alleviate the plight of our countrymen,” Lim added.
Asked if they will simply aid in the rehabilitation of the fishing vessel or provide a new fishing vessel for the affected fishermen, Lim said they still need more information on the possible expenses.
“Kung magkano, were trying to ascertain so we’re getting in touch with the fishermen, kung magkano ba cost ng fishing boat na yan, I think pwede pa natin i-rehabilitate pa ‘yan,” Lim said.
Further, Lim said he had also talked with Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana and discussed the means to communicate with the affected fishermen for the assistance.
“[Secretary] Lorenzana is happy and willing to help the fishermen,” Lim said.
Once they have communicated with the fishermen, Lim said they will check if additional assistance can be provided for them.
Lim also sought for more information from the Philippine Navy regarding the incident and added that the fishermen will also receive rice supply “until they are fully rehabilitated.”
Admission of guilt?
When asked if the assistance was an admission of guilt, Lim said the Philippine and Chinese governments are still investigating the incident.
“There’s no admission of guilt of anybody dito. So this what we are saying…basta ang concern natin dito ay ang kabuhayan ng mga mangingisda,” Lim said.
Lim also called the mishap a ‘very isolated incident’.
“I think it is a very isolated incident. Incident like this is bound to happen if you ask me,” Lim said.
On June 9, a Filipino vessel sunk after being reportedly hit by a Chinese vessel.
The crew of the Chinese vessel immediately left following the incident, leaving the 22 Filipino fishermen aboard the Filipino vessel behind until they were rescued by a Vietnamese fishing vessel.
While admitting that the Chinese vessel Yuemaobinyu 42212 from Guangdong Province in China was engaged in a “light purse seine operation” at the vicinity of Reed Bank on June 9, the Chinese Embassy denied that it was a “hit and run” incident.
“The Chinese captain tried to rescue the Filipino fishermen, but was afraid of being besieged by other Filipino boats. Therefore, having confirmed the fishermen from the Filipino boat were rescued on board by other Filipino fishing boats, 42212 sailed away from the scene,” the Embassy said.
Following the incident, Foreign Affairs secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr. said he had filed a diplomatic protest to address the matter. (Editor: Julie Espinosa)
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