Gatchalian urges swift probe of Recto Bank incident
MANILA, Philippines — The collision between a Chinese fishing vessel and a Filipino boat in Recto Bank in the West Philippine Sea should be swiftly investigated and resolved, Sen. Sherwin Gatchalian urged Monday.
This, he said, would avoid politicizing the issue and give justice to the 22 Filipino fishermen affected by the incident, he said.
A Chinese vessel reportedly rammed and sank an anchored Filipino fishing boat and abandoned its crew.
“Ang aking panawagan, bilisan ‘yung imbestigasyon nang maparusahan ‘yung gumawa ito,” Gatchalian told reporters in an interview at the Senate. “Importante na mabilis na ma-resolve itong issue na ito dahil sensitive itong issue na ito at ang gusto natin ay mabigyan ng katarungan ‘yung ating mga mangingisda para lumamig ang issue.”
[My call is to speed up the investigation so that those responsible could be punished. It’s important to resolve the issue quickly because it’s a sensitive one, and we want to give justice to the fisherman so that the issue would calm down.]
Earlier, Malacañang said the Chinese government was “seriously” and “thoroughly” looking into the incident.
Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang earlier accused the Philippines of “irresponsibly politicizing” the incident at Recto Bank, which he described as only an “ordinary maritime accident.”
But Gatchalian said: “Hindi natin maaalis na mapo-politicize ito dahil itong issue na ito politicized na from the beginning. ‘Yung relasyon natin between China is politicized from the beginning.”
[We can’t avoid politicizing this issue because it has been politicized right from the beginning. Our relationship with China has been politicized right from the beginnning.]
“Kaya nga ang importante ngayon, mabilis ma-resolba para hindi lalong nagiging ma-politicze itong issue na ito,” he added.
[That’s why it’s important that we resolve this so we could avoid further politicizing the issue.]
(Editor: Alexander T. Magno)
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