Solon: Report proves Palace downplayed Recto Bank incident
MANILA, Philippines — The official joint investigation report of the Philippine Coast Guard (PCG) and Maritime Industry Authority (Marina) only proved that Malacañan Palace downplayed the Recto (Reed) Bank incident, Bayan Muna party-list Rep. Carlos Isagani Zarate said in a statement issued on Saturday.
“It’s clear in the report that the Chinese vessel hit Gem-Ver in calm sea and there was no difficulty seeing things,” Zarate said in Filipino. “It’s also clear that the Chinese vessel was inside our EEZ [Exclusive Economic Zone] and that it should have rescued and not just left the Filipino fishermen there.”
President Rodrigo Duterte described the sinking of the Filipino fishing boat Gem-Ver 1, which happened in the West Philippine Sea last June 9, as a “little maritime incident.”
The PCG-Marina report, dated June 20, said the Chinese vessel failed to create measures to prevent itself from hitting and eventually sinking of the Philippine boat.
The report also mentioned the failure of the Chinese vessel to assist the 22 Filipino fishermen whom they abandoned at the sea.
Bayan Muna Rep. Eufemia Cullamat also condemned Malacañang for allegedly protecting China.
“Our countrymen were left to die in the sea, and yet Malacañang is protecting China,” Cullamat said in Filipino. “This is plain treason. We are not a province of China and we won’t allow that to happen.”
File a case
In an interview aired over AM radio station DWIZ, Sen. Sherwin Gatchalian said in Filipino: “We can file a case in court because it happened inside our EEZ so that can get justice for our fishermen. What we don’t want is a repetition of this accident. We can avoid that if we file a case.”
The senator also asked the Chinese government to be independent in probing the incident and help in finding justice for the Filipino fishermen.
“Their investigation should be fair and impartial,” he said.
(Editor: Alexander T. Magno)
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